A Philippine National Police Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (PNP-IMEG)-led entrapment operation in Candelaria, Quezon early afternoon yesterday resulted in the arrest of three local policemen and their three civilian cohorts accused of abducting drug offenders in the municipality and forcing them to pay huge amount of money for their release without any charges, PNP-IMEG director, Colonel Ronald O. Lee said.
In a report to PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the PNP-IMEG director identified the arrested policemen as Police Staff Sergeants Alvin Dimaranan and Samuel Merlosa and Patrolman John Faulmini, all assigned with the Candelaria Municipal Police Station Drug Enforcement Unit.
Arrested along with the three were civilians Nelson Ravelo, Jessica Alcantara and Reggie de Chavez who were described as ‘civilian assets’ or tipsters of the accused policemen.
“We are also tracking down two other policemen who managed to escape in the forested area at the height of the raid,” said the PNP-IMEG director who noted the full support given to them by Police Regional Office 4-A director, Brigadier General Vicente D. Danao Jr. in arresting the suspects.
According to Lee, members of the PNP-IMEG, with the full assistance of operatives from the PRO4-A Regional Special Operations Group and the 82nd Special Action Company of the PNP Special Action Force conducted the operations at the BPI Candelaria branch and at the suspects’ safehouse in Barangay Maasin past 1 p.m. yesterday following information relayed to their office.
He said that during the initial operation, suspect de Chavez was arrested while in the act of making a series of cash withdrawals from the ATM account of some complainants.
Shortly after the suspect’s arrest, officers conducted a follow-up operation based on information provided by de Chavez. Lee said that the accused policemen tried to engage the PNP-IMEG, SAF and PRO4-A operatives in a brief shootout until the Candelaria anti-narcotics policemen surrendered.
“Arrested inside the suspects’ safehouse were the three policemen and the two other civilians while a kidnapping victim was also rescued,” Lee said.
Lee said that recovered inside the Candelaria policemen’s safehouse were suspected shabu and assorted firearms and live ammunition as well as a motor vehicle being used by the suspects.
“We have information that the accused policemen are using the raided safehouse as a place where they keep arrested drug personalities while negotiating ‘ransom’ for their release without any charges. In short, they are engaged in so-called ‘bangketa/hulidap’ operations,” Lee said.