General Azurin arrived at the Langley airport in BC and “voluntarily” returns home after questioning
By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday confirmed that former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. was intercepted by immigration authorities upon his arrival at the Langley airport in British Columbia, Canada.
The Canadian authorities were tipped off of Azurin’s arrival and took him for questioning about his involvement in former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war and the incumbent senators allied with the Duterte administration, according to an Inquirer.net report.
Azurin denied he was deported by the Canadian government, saying he would address the issue soon.
“In due time, I will issue my statement and face the media to tell what happened,” Azurin said in a statement released to journalists last September 28 (Philippine time).
The incident involving Azurin was brought up by House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan during the Budget Hearing at the House of Representatives last Wednesday.
Nueva Ecija Representative Joseph Violago, sponsor of the DFA’s proposed P23 billion budget for 2024, answered Libanan’s questions about the incident.
“Parang nagkaroon ng misinterpretation, misunderstanding sa nangyari (There was an apparent misinterpretation, misunderstanding on what happened), and the Canadian government expressed their regrets over the incident,” Violago said.
In a GMA News report, Violago also said Azurin, who served as the PNP chief under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for eight months, voluntarily went home after the incident.
“Wala nang nagawa [na assistance] ang Philippine Embassy kasi General Azurin voluntarily returned. Kaya wala nang naging assistance about the incident,” Violago said.
(There was no assistance from the Philippine Embassy since General Azurin voluntarily returned to the Philippines.)
“General Azurin went to Canada on his private capacity. Since the trip is not official, wala rin pong magagawang assistance just in case,” he added.
(Our Embassy could not extend assistance since the trip was in General Azurin’s private capacity.)
Libanan then said such a confidential report can be submitted to the office of Speaker Martin Romualdez as soon as possible, and that DFA cannot let this happen again to all other former police officers.
Spreading of lies
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it is not in a position to confirm or deny reports about Azurin’s alleged deportation from Canada, the Philippine Star reported.
During a press conference yesterday, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said she could not confirm or deny anything because it was an action done by the Canadian immigration.
Asked for any available information about Azurin’s travel, Sandoval said the BI has records of his departure and arrival, but these could not be shared due to data privacy.
“We have that on record, but we have not received any information about his alleged deportation,” Sandoval said. She said it is not mandatory for other countries to inform the Philippine immigration about their deportation proceedings.
Azurin, who retired in April this year, was the first PNP chief appointed by President Marcos. He was succeeded by Gen. Benjamin Acorda.
During his term, Azurin led the investigation on the narco-generals, which prompted the PNP and the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to conduct lifestyle checks and background investigation on close to 1,000 police officers, from colonels to generals.
The lifestyle check and background investigation on the alleged narco-generals were recommended by Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, who chairs the Napolcom.
In July, Marcos accepted the resignation of 18 police officials tagged by the PNP Advisory Group to have allegedly been involved in illegal drugs.
These officials were brigadier generals Remus Medina, Randy Peralta and Pablo Labra II as well as colonels Rogarth Campo, Rommel Ochave, Rommel Velasco, Robin King Sarmiento, Fernando Ortega, Rex Derilo, Julian Olonan, Rolando Portera, Lawrence Cajipe, Dario Menor, Joel Tampis, Michael David, Igmedio Bernaldez, Rodolfo Albotra Jr. and Marvin Sanchez.
Prior to this, Azurin was implicated in the issue, but was cleared by a Senate panel investigating the alleged cover-up on a major drug haul involving 990 kilos of shabu with an estimated value of P6.7 billion in Manila in October last year.
In a Rappler.com report, Azurin accused PNP Deputy Chief for Administration PLtGen. Rhodel Sermonia to be behind the “spreading (of) lies about his alleged deportation.”
“Maybe he (Sermonia) knows something that everyone in our country does not know. Maybe, it was him who tipped the Canadian immigration by concocting half truths and many lies and had been hoping that I will be deported. He had been sending messages about my deportation,” Azurin said in a statement.
Azurin said all “indicators” revealed that Sermonia “has something to do with what happened.”
Meanwhile, Sermonia denied Azurin’s allegations.
He also said he would not do that because he treats Azurin as family, since their wives are sisters.
“Former CP Azurin may have been fed false stories again to drag my name on the unverified reports of his alleged deportation. There is no reason for me to do what I am being accused of. Magmistah kami, bilas ko pa soya. Ang kasiraan niya ay kasiraan ng aming pamilya,” Sermonia said.
Sermonia said he was also able to talk to Azurin before he retired, and he does not know why he is being involved in the issue.
“The truth will speak for me,” Sermonia told ABS-CBN News.