4 cops nabbed for drinking, gambling

Romeo M. Caramat Jr.

AGENTS of the newly-formed Philippine National Police Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Grgoup (PNP-IMEG) on Wednesday evening arrested four active policemen found drinking in public and engaging in illegal online gambling inside a restaurant near the PNP national headquarters in Camp Crame, PNP-IMEG director, Colonel Romeo M. Caramat Jr. announced yesterday.

In a report to PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde, the official identified the four policemen as Senior Master Sergeant Demetrio Laroya, Staff Sgt. Erwin Gobis and Corporal Ariel Pasion, all members of the PNP Health Service and Staff Sgt. Gerry Ocampo of the PNP Crime Laboratory.

Caramat said three drinking buddies of the four identified as ex-policeman Fidel Agustin, non-uniformed personnel Leo Ocinar of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management and the owner of the Belen Lutong Bahay Restaurant named Teddy Ocampo were also arrested during the 10 p.m. Tuesday operation.

“That operation stemmed from several reports we received that several policemen are frequently being seen drinking in the said restaurant while betting in an illegal online game called E-Sabong,” said the official.

Caramat said they conducted the operation after a verification made with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.    He said the operation was also in line with their effort to arrest policemen violating a strict directive from President Duterte banning the presence of members of the PNP, the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies from drinking in public places and gambling establishments.

PNP-CITF operatives recovered cash bets amounting to P14,430 in different denominations, two  television sets being used for online gambling, one digital video recorder for a Closed-Circuit Television System, one roll of betting tickets, two units of Signal HHD digital box and 23 liquor bottles.

All suspects were taken to the PNP-IMEG headquarters in Camp Crame for documentation and filing of proper criminal charges immediately after the raid, said Caramat.

According to PNP spokesman, Colonel Bernard M. Banac, since President Duterte ordered a war on drugs in July 2016, a total of 441 police officers and men have been fired from the force for their direct or indirect involvement in illegal drug trafficking and abuse.

With Zaida Delos Reyes