PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday ordered the administrative relief and restrictive custody of 11 former members of the San Jose del Monte City Police Station in Bulacan accused of killing six suspected drug traffickers in separate shootouts last February.
The 11 who were named respondents in a criminal information sheet filed by the National Bureau of Investigation before the National Prosecution Service for alleged kidnapping with serious illegal detention, murder and planting of evidence under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were Major Leo Commendador dela Rosa and his subordinates, Staff Sergeants Benjie Enconado, Jayson Legaspi, Irwin Yuson and Edmund Catubay Jr.; Corporals Jay Leoncio, Herbert Hernandez, Raymond Bayan and Raul Malgapo; and Patrolmen Erwin Sabido and Rusco Madla.
Maj. dela Rosa and the 10 others used to be assigned with the Station Drug Enforcement Unit of the San Jose del Monte City police force before being transferred to the Police Regional Office 3 headquarters in Camp Olivas in San Fernando City, Pampanga two months ago.
Gen. Gamboa assured the full cooperation and support of the PNP to the NBI in further investigating the 11 who were accused by the NBI of ‘fabricating’ reports on their separate encounters with the six during buy-bust operations.”
The Chief PNP emphasized that the unlawful actions of the indicted policemen are purely their own and are not sanctioned by any official orders, policy, or regulation.”
“I will not tolerate any wrongdoing in the service. Those accused must be made to answer for their criminal acts. In the meantime, it is best that they are relieved from duty to eliminate any suspicion of whitewash or coddling,” he said.
Gen. Gamboa instructed PRO3 director, Brigadier Gen. Rhodel O. Sermonia to place the 11 policemen under restrictive custody to ensure their availability to face further investigation and to administratively relieve them from their present positions to preclude the possibility of exerting undue influence in the ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice Prosecution Service and the internal investigation by the PNP.
He however explained that the indictment and preliminary investigation proceedings guarantee the right of the respondents to due process.
Journal Group sources said they have information that some of the witnesses against the 11 policemen were ‘coerced’ into testifying against the lawmen who have reported that the six resisted arrest and engaged them in firefights while about to be arrested in anti-drug stings. Sources said the six previously were linked to illegal drug activities in the city.
The NBI earlier said the six men who were reported to have been killed in gunbattles with the San Jose del Monte City police anti-narcotics agents last February were abducted by the accused who brought them to their station before killing them separately in purported ‘buy-bust operations’
The NBI claimed that the accused also ‘planted’ drugs and guns at the six local residents who were killed from February 14-18. The NBI said it managed to get photographs of some of the six men while they were inside the San Jose del Monte City police station.