COVID-19 won’t stop arrest of rogue cops

PHILIPPINE National Police Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group ( (PNP-IMEG) director, Colonel Ronald O. Lee yesterday announced the arrest of two policemen in Metro Manila for their involvement in robbery-extortion amid the death threats posed by the COVID-19 virus.

In a report to PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the official said that one of the arrested policeman is a Manila police-community precinct commander  who was accused of extorting money from market vendors in Ermita. Gen. Gamboa said he wants the dismissal from the force of the two arrested policemen.

Lee said that Captain Josep Pedro Bocalbos,55, the Paz Community-Precinct commander in Ermita, Manila  and his cohort Joyce Sajines , 47, were arrested 6 p.m. last Wednesday following complaints from market vendors in Ermita district.

“” Walang Covid Covid sa IMEG kapag ang huhulihin ay iskalawag,” the official said in announcing the arrest of the suspects during an entrapment operation  inside the Paz PCP.

According to the PNP-IMEG drector , they conducted  the sting amid a complaint  from market vendors in the area that they are being required to shell out a daily P150 ‘Tara’  or grease money for Bocalbos.

The money being collected by Sajines alias ‘Joy’ is in exchange for the continuous illegal vending of the complainants along the public market of Brgy Paz  in Paco,  Manila, the PNP-IMEG found out.

“We have arrested a police commissioned officer who has been the subject of complaint regarding his extortion activity. It turned out that  Cpt. Bocalbos is extorting  P150 daily from each vendor  in Barangay Paz, Paco Manilla . Once they fail to give the amount, they are being subjected to harassment by the officer,” Lee said.

The complaint reached the attention of National Capital Region Police Office director, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas and the PNP Directorate for Intelligence headed Brig. Gen. Ferdinand O. Divina. The two officials eventually forwarded the complaints to the PNP-IMEG for thorough validation.

Following the complaint, officers of the PNP-IMEG Luzon Field Unit placed the accused under surveillance and after validation of the accusations against them launched the entrapment operation with the assistance of officers from the NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division/ Regional Special Operations Group and the Manila Police District -District Intelligence Division.

Bocalbos, who is set to retire soon denied the charges against him. He and Sajines are now being held at the PNP-IMEG lock-up facility in Camp Crame facing criminal charges.

The police officer will also be facing administrative charges for grave misconduct.

Last October,  Cpt. Bocalbos and two of his men were commended for arresting four suspects in the assassination of Masbate Vice Mayor Charlie Yuson III in Sampaloc, Manila. The four however were ordered released for further investigation by a local prosecutor.

Lee said that on the same afternoon, PNP-IMEG agents  likewise arrested a personnel of the PNP Health Service’s Transport Section in Camp Crame in an entrapment operation.

The PNP-IMEG  director identified the accused as Staff Sergant Joel Zalun Bunugan, an ambulance driver of the PNP-HS.

“We also caught on the same day another policeman violating the strict ‘No Kotong’ policy of the PNP leadership, one who is demanding money from police applicants by claiming he can alter the result of their medical records in exchange for big amount of money,” Lee said.

According to Lee, the suspect was placed under arrest during an entrapment operation at the S & R Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Fairview, Quezon City shortly after he received P100,000 in marked bills from  complainant Alexander Ecle.

The arresting officers  from the PNP-IMEG  were backed-up by a team of  policemen from the 82nd Special Action Company of the PNP Special Action Force and the PNP Intelligence Group.

“We conducted the sting amid information that the accused  was promising some police recruits who have failed the PNP medical examination that they will be able to pay their way into the 205,000-strong police organization,” Lee said.

The accused  is also being held at the PNP-IMEG jail  facing  criminal charges for robbery-extortion. Lee said that they will recommend the filing of administrative charges for grave misconduct against Bunugan before the office of PNP-HS director, Brig. Gen. Herminio S. Tadeo Jr.

The two policemen were the latest to be arrested by the PNP-IMEG this week. Last April 7, IMEG operatives also arrested a member of the Station Drug Enforcement Unit of the Waterfront Police Station in Cebu City for robbery-extortion. The suspect was caught in the act of receiving a brand-new refrigerator he demanded from the brother of a jailed drug offender.