DFA confirms Canada detained ex-PNP chief; Azurin blames in-law
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday confirmed that former Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. was intercepted by immigration authorities upon his arrival at Langley Airport in Canada.
Azurin on Tuesday said he was held for questioning in Canada for two days but did not disclose details.
However, he accused his in-law, Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, as the one “spreading lies” about the incident.
“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 said in a message to reporters.
“All indicators are very revealing that Sermonia had something to do with what happened … all footprints are leading to him,” Azurin added.
Azurin denied he was deported by the Canadian government, saying he would address the issue soon.
But at a press conference in Camp Crame on Wednesday, Sermonia, PNP’s No. 2 as deputy chief for administration, denied he had anything to do with what happened to Azurin.
“[He] may have been fed false stories again to drag my name [into] the unverified reports of his alleged deportation. There is no reason for me to do what I am being accused of,” he said.
“We are ‘mistahs’ (batchmates at the Philippine Military Academy or PMA), and he is my ‘bilas’ [their respective wives are siblings]. The destruction of his name is a destruction of our families’ names,” he added. Aside from being in-laws, Azurin and Sermonia are both members of the PMA Class of 1989.
Instead, he told Azurin to ask the Canadian Embassy about the reason behind the questioning, which made him decide to return to the country.
According to Sermonia, their families were planning to talk among themselves “to clarify the issue once and for all.”
Azurin retired from the service on April 24, after serving for seven months as President FerdinaND Marcos Jr.’s first PNP chief.
During the plenary debates on the DFA’s proposed P23-billion budget at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Nueva Ecija Rep. Joseph Violago, in response to an inquiry by House Minority Leader and 4Ps party list Rep. Marcelino Libanan on Azurin’s status, said: “There was a misunderstanding, misinterpretation on what happened and the Canadian government expressed [its] regrets [over] the miscommunication.”
Violago, the sponsor of the DFA budget, said Azurin went to Canada in his private capacity, therefore no assistance was extended by the Philippine Embassy in Canada.
“The DFA assures [us] that [it] will intervene [in the matter] but since the trip [of] Gen. Azurin was for private purposes, we don’t want to discuss this matter in public yet,” Violago said, claiming that it was the Canadian government that asked that the issue not be discussed publicly.
Violago confirmed that there was already a report on the incident, but he could not divulge its contents “for privacy purposes.”
Violago, however, said the DFA will submit a report to Speaker Martin Romualdez, although the Canadian government had yet to give an official statement on the matter.