Gen. Rodolfo Palomino has resigned as head of Colombia's national police
He is under investigation, accused of running a prostitution ring and illicit enrichment
Palomino resigned but denies all of the accusations against him
The head of Colombia’s national police has resigned amid allegations of running a male prostitution ring with the help of other police officials.
Gen. Rodolfo Palomino categorically denied the allegations at the same Wednesday morning news conference where he announced his resignation from the country’s top police post.
“I will be, in the next few minutes, submitting my resignation, knowing that I’m absolutely innocent of the charges brought against me,” said Palomino, who was surrounded by top brass and had his wife by his side. “I’m not guilty of any of those charges.”
Palomino’s resignation comes less than 24 hours after Colombian Attorney General Alejandro Ordoñez opened a disciplinary investigation into the police chief’s alleged role in the prostitution ring, illicit enrichment and tapping of journalists’ phones.
The attorney general cited two pieces of evidence to substantiate the investigation: the testimony of a national police captain and a video that links both police and congressmen to the male prostitution ring known as “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
Colombian media has reported that the prostitution ring served officers, but the attorney general did not disclose any details about those allegations.
If the allegations against Palomino are proved, he could be charged with pimping, inducing people to prostitution and human trafficking, Ordoñez said.
In his resignation announcement, Palomino talked about his 38 years of public service to Colombia.
“To my fellow Colombians whom I owe everything, whom I served, and from whom I obtained recognition and the satisfaction of fulfilling my duties … thank you all for allowing me to feel useful,” he said.
Palomino, who said he comes from humble origins in the Colombian countryside, has had a very successful career in the military.
He was promoted to general by Juan Manuel Santos, who was then defense minister and is now Colombia’s President. Santos promoted Palomino to head of the national police more than two years ago.
On Wednesday, Santos thanked Palomino for his service to the country and called his resignation evidence of his loyalty to his family.
Before stepping down, Palomino made it a point to thank all other generals in the national police.
“I proudly leave this (police) uniform aside, but I know that I was born a police officer and that’s how I will die,” he said.