THE Philippine National Police leadership headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has maintained that ‘battlelines have been drawn’ against rogues in police uniform whom they consider as their real enemy within the ranks and all efforts are in place to arrest or neutralize them.
The PNP made this clear anew as agents of the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force last week arrested two policemen from the Makati and Taguig City Police Stations accused of robbery-extortion. The arrests prompted National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar and Southern Police District director, Chief Superintendent Eliseo DC Cruz to repeat their warning that no one will be spared in the ongoing PNP internal cleansing program.
Last year, at least nine policemen accused of involvement in illegal drugs, kidnapping and robbery-extortion were killed in gunbattles with the PNP-CITF headed by Senior Superintendent Romeo M. Caramat Jr.
Gen. Albayalde said the deadly clashes between the rogue cops and the operating troops showed “the hardline stance of the PNP to cleanse the organization of undesirables and criminal elements” who have infiltrated their ranks.
“It was rather a difficult decision to engage in combat against your own brothers-in-arms but it had to be done rather than betray the public trust and turn our backs on our solemn oath. Just as we are relentless and chilling in our war on drugs, we will also be relentless, resolute and chilling in our internal cleansing program,” he said.
The PNP chief warned anew that he will spare no one in disciplining misfits and scalawags in the PNP, even if he has to take drastic measures. “It will be absolutely chilling, and sometimes may even be deadly, against those who will continue to pursue their crooked ways,” Gen. Albayalde said.
President Duterte has repeatedly issued warnings to policemen involved in unscrupulous activities that he will not hesitate to have them “terminated.” The fighting former Davao City mayor said ordering the neutralization of so-called “scalawags” is a viable option in solving rampant criminality in the Philippines, where “nobody seems to obey the law.”
“I promise you that including uniformed personnel, huwag kayong pumasok diyan sa droga, ‘yang mga murder-for-hire, kasi ipa-project ko rin kayo,” Duterte said in a speech last year.
Gen. Albayade lamented that some of the policemen, mostly rookie officers, are still engaged in extortion and other similar activities when the government has already doubled their salaries this year.
“Despite the fact na dinoble na nga ang suweldo natin, meron pa ring ganyang gawain... I think ang puno’t dulo lang nito ay pag amass lang ng sobra-sobrang pera. Probably meron silang lifestyle, pati ang kanilang pamilya,” he said in the aftermath of the arrest last year of three Valenzuela City policemen accused of extortion and four Taguig City police officers found involved in a kidnapping-extortion case.
Caramat has issued a stern warning to rogue cops: don’t offer any armed resistance while being arrested or you will be fired upon. “We really mean business and on orders of Gen. Albayalde will spare no one in our campaign to help rid the police force of misfits and scalawags. My appeal to rogue policemen who are being arrested: please don’t offer any armed resistance since my men are under instructions to always defend themselves,” the PNP-CITF director told the Journal Group.
Caramat’s men have already arrested and jailed nearly 100 active policemen found to be involved in different criminal activities including ‘hulidap’ and ‘bangketa’ activities, robbery-extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom since June last year.
Last week, PNP-CITF agents arrested a Taguig City Police precinct commander and one of his men accused of robbery-extortion following an entrapment right inside their office.
Chief Inspector Paul Bryan Torres, the head of the Taguig City Precinct 6 and his man, Police Officer 1 Ariel Intenal are now being held at the CITF jail. The two were arrested shortly after Intenal received P59,000 in marked money from the complainant in the presence of his superior.
The money came from a walk-in complainant identified as Rochelle Calle, a resident of Bgy. Ususan, Taguig City who complained that the arrested precinct commander demanded P100,000 from her in exchange for the downgrading of the criminal charges to be filed against her son who was arrested for a drug-related offense.
It turned out that after arresting Calle’s son Raven shortly before noon Saturday, the Taguig City precinct commander reportedly demanded P100,000 from Calle so that instead of filing a non-bailable drug trafficking case against her son, the case would be downgraded to a mere illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
Last Wednesday, PNP-CITF operatives also arrested the deputy commander of the Police-Community Precinct 9 of the Makati City Police Station for robbery-extortion. Senior Police Officer 4 Danilo Paghubasan, a resident of MB 9, BCDA, Barangay Ususan in Taguig City was accused of preying on poor ‘habal-habal’ drivers in his community and threatening them with arrest if they won’t come across his monetary demands.
Caramat said that in coordination with Chief Supt. Cruz, members of the PNP-CITF and the PNP Intelligence Group arrested SPO4 Paghubasan during an entrapment operation at the Pamayanang Diego Silang Village in BCDA where he received P15,000 in marked money from a complainant.
According to Caramat, a ‘habal-habal’ driver from Bgy. Ususan identified as Arman Lucero complained to their office that SPO3 Paghubasan demanded from him P15,000 as alleged ‘membership fee’ in their illegal terminal. The complainant said that he was told by the cop that he will not be allowed to pick up passengers in the area unless he pays the required ‘membership fee.’
Caramat said that during investigation, they discovered that SPO3 Paghubasan has been collecting P150 daily from at least 40 ‘habal-habal’ drivers or P6,000 a day in the same area while warning that those who will fail to pay him will be apprehended by his cohorts from the Taguig City PCP 8 as soon as they travel along C-5 Road in Palar Village, Taguig City.
The official added that during a 2-week surveillance, undercover CITF and PNP-IG agents under Senior Supt. Edgar Monsalve noticed that the arrested policeman is seemingly not ‘reporting/performing’ his official duty at the Makati City PCP 9 as he was frequently spotted in plainclothes at the ‘habal-habal’ terminal in BCDA. Eleazar ordered the relief of the Makati PCP 9 commander following the incident.