Crackdown on rogues won’t spare erring policewomen

August 24, 2020

THE ongoing crackdown on rogues in uniform will spare nobody. Thus, the campaign will also target officers or non-commissioned officers and other public servants, erring policewomen included, the head of the Philippine National Police Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (PNP-IMEG) assured the public yesterday.

According to Brigadier General Ronald O. Lee, PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa has also ordered them to wage an unrelenting drive versus police misfits and scalawags including those who are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to earn fast buck thru illegal ways.

“We are assuring the public that there is no letup in our campaign against misfits and scalawags in the force as ordered by Gen. Gamboa who has a strict zero-tolerance policy on  police officers and men who continue to tarnish the good image of the PNP,” Lee said.

Last Thursday, PNP-IMEG agents arrested a 46-year old  female member of the National Capital Region Police Office accused of extortion during an entrapment operation in front of Savemore branch located at the corner of G. Araneta Avenue and Ramon Magsaysay Avenue in Sta. Mesa, Manila. 

Lee identified the accused who has been stripped of her PNP-issued firearm as Staff Sergeant Clarissa dela Cruz, currently assigned at the Regional Personnel Holding Administrative Unit of the NCRPO.

Brig. Gen. Lee said the policewoman was arrested 3:15 p.m. Thursday by undercover officers from the PNP-IMEG and the 82nd Special Action Company of the PNP Special Action Force following a complaint for robbery-extortion.

The policewoman was accused of asking her colleagues from the Q.C. Police District Station 4 in Novaliches to detain the three persons without filing any charges against them. She and some QCPD Station 4 personnel were also accused of getting the cellphones, TV set and other valuables of the complainants.

As a result, the PNP-IMEG filed criminal charges for kidnapping with arbitrary detention, robbery-extortion, violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 6713 or An Act Establishing a Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees against her before the Department of Justice, said PNP-IMEG spokesperson, Captain May Cunanan.

NCRPO director, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas ordered the immediate relief of the accused and the inclusion of her name on the list of Metro Manila police personnel who are detained and considered on automatic leave.

“I have also ordered the conduct of summary hearing procedures on the accused and directed the NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division to coordinate with the PNP-IMEG their investigation into the possibility that the accused was acting in cahoots with some other police officers and men in the conduct of her illegal activities,” said Sinas.

The probe was ordered amid the complaint that the accused sought the arrest and detention of three persons in a QCPD Police-Community Precinct in order to give her a leverage in demanding money from them.

The PNP-IMEG director said their investigation showed that three persons identified as Marissa Alla, Gilbert Ardona and Junaid Patpatan were arrested by members of the Q.C. Police District Station 4 in Barangay Sta. Monica in Novaliches, Q.C. last Wednesday for an alleged estafa case filed by SSgt. Dela Cruz.

However, the policewoman didn’t pursue the criminal case against the three and instead demanded P50,000 from them as purported ‘damages’ she incurred during their failed transaction.

She also brought Alla to her residence in Sampaloc, Manila and waited for the latter’s husband Rico to deliver the P10,000 she was asking for her release. The woman’s husband sought the help of the PNP-IMEG in arresting the suspect.

Brig. Gen. Lee said investigation showed that SSgt. Dela Cruz became a face shield supplier during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and attracted a number of online sellers who wanted to earn some money after being affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine protocols.

He said that Mrs. Alla turned out to have acted as the ‘middleman’ during their transactions with Ardona and Pandapatan. However, the policewoman got irked when the two buyers reportedly failed to pay their agreed amount during their online transactions and later sought the assistance of personnel from the QCPD Station 4 in arresting and detaining the three.

Lee said that recovered from the policewoman during the entrapment operation were the P10,000 worth of boodle money topped by two marked P500 bills, a cellphone she used in contacting the complainant and a motorcycle.

The suspect was immediately whisked to the PNP-IMEG headquarters in Camp Crame for booking and documentation shortly after her arrest. Lee said they will be filing criminal and administrative charges against the policewoman who claimed innocence over the charges imputed on her.

The official also called on the public anew to report the presence of any police personnel involved in irregularities to the PNP IMEG Hotlines: SMART- 09989702286 or GLOBE-09957952569. Information may also be forwarded to Facebook Page: Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group and Twitter account: @imeg2017.

The arrest of the policewoman came in the wake of a renewed warning by Gen. Gamboa that active and dismissed rogue police personnel will continue to be treated as criminals by the force and will be subjected to continuing counter-intelligence operations if they persist on doing their illicit activities.

The top cop particularly stressed that police officers and men dismissed for criminal or administrative offenses specifically grave misconduct won’t be spared by their ongoing internal cleansing program and would still be monitored for their involvement in illegal activities in the country.

“Under the PNP’s Internal Cleansing Program, we continue to monitor dismissed personnel to check if they are still involved in illegal activities,” Gamboa said as he emphasized that crooked cops fired for various irregularities continue to remain under the radar of the PNP-IMEG. 

“If these dismissed PNP members are still engaged in illegal activities, they will be treated as ordinary civilian criminals,” he said.

Gen. Gamboa said their uncompromising policy against rogues in uniform has already resulted in the dismissal of 4,208 policemen from July 2016 to date. The 4,208 police officers and men are among the 14,572 erring personnel who were subjected to disciplinary actions since the start of the Duterte presidency in 2016.

During the period, a total of 7,376 erring policemen were suspended, 770 were demoted; 559 had their salaries forfeited; 1,345 were reprimanded; 101 were restricted to quarters; and 164 had their privileges withheld.