PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa yesterday ordered the administrative relief of former PNP Special Action Force commander Director Benjamin B. Lusad amid the plunder case filed against the latter and three other subordinates in connection with their alleged failure to release nearly P59 million worth of Daily Additional Subsistence Allowance or ASA to SAF commandos for 16 months starting February 2016.
Lusad will be replaced as PNP Director for Integrated Police Operations-Southern Luzon by his mistah from Philippine Military Academy Class 1985, Chief Superintendent Ericson T. Velasquez. Gen. Dela Rosa announced the relief of Lusad during the donning of rank of newly-promoted PNP Director Rolando B. Felix of the DIPO-Visayas.
Other officials said that the filing of charges against Lusad and company would give them the opportunity to formally answer the complaints against them and correct wrong impressions. Prior to the charges against him, Lusad was known for his solid track record and untarnished integrity.
The relief of Lusad came in the wake of the filing of plunder charges against him and three others before the Ombudsman’s Office by 13 SAF officers led by retired SAF commander Director Moro Virgilio M. Lazo of PMA Class 1984.
“The Ombudsman has already taken cognizance of this case. For our part, we will abide by the guidance by the PNP leadership to cooperate, as we have always done in the past to ferret out the truth. Tamaan na ang sinumang dapat managot at may kinalaman basta lumabas ang katotohanan,” said PNP spokesman Chief Supt. John C. Bulalacao.
Also named as respondents in the case forwarded to the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Law Enforcement Office were former PNP-SAF budget officer Senior Supt. Andre P. Dizon; and PNP-SAF Finance Sergeants, Senior Police Officer 2 Maila S. Bustamante and Senior Police Officer 1 Jack James R. Irica.
Lusad was the one who replaced Lazo at the PNP-SAF on July 1, 2016. In turn, Lusad was replaced by former SAF deputy, now Director Noli G. Taliño, also of PMA Class 1984.
The complaint sheet, a copy of which was acquired by the Journal Group from Ombudsman sources, said that the complainants accused the respondents of committing the crime of plunder and of malversation of public funds and the administrative case of grave misconduct for their failure to give the P30 per day ASA or a total of P900 a month to more or less 4,000 uniformed personnel of the PNP-SAF.
The ASA is usually distributed to its recipients every quarter of the year.
The complainants said that during the stint of Lusad as PNP-SAF director from July 2016 to January this year, the ASA recipients only received their ASA for the months of January 2016 and January to July 2017.
The complainants said they did not receive their ASA for the months of February to December 2016 and August to December 2017.
The complaint sheet showed that the ASA for all uniformed SAF personnel for the months of February to December 2016 and August to December 2017 totaled P58,849,590 based on copies of Notices of Cash Allocations and Notices of Fund Allocation for the said months.
Gen. Dela Rosa said the case is already the subject of an Ombudsman investigation and that he would give the accused the chance to explain their side.