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‘Bato’ says rogue cops taking advantage of due process

  • Written by Alfred P. Dalizon
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 127

ROGUES in uniform are taking advantage of the thing called ‘due process’ to get away with their grave misconducts and other misdemeanors, thus the need to plug in the loophole thru enactment of tougher laws against misfits and scalawags, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa said yesterday.
    
“If there’s one person in this country who wants to immediately dismiss rogues in police uniform, that’s me,” the PNP chief said amid a recent challenge aired by Senator Richard Gordon for the national police leadership to dismiss rogues in police service within 15 days.
    
Gen. Dela Rosa said, however, that it would be much easier said than done. “I want to dismiss rogues in uniform right away. If I’m morally convinced that they committed a crime or abused their authority, I want to fire them immediately but you should understand that in this country, even the accused are heavily protected by the law particularly when it comes to observance of due process,” he said.
    
The top cop said that in many cases, policemen dismissed from the service for serious grave offenses will appeal to the National Police Commission for reinstatement and claim they were denied ‘due process’ when they were fired from the organization.
    
Officials agreed and said that the same problem has been in existence since the PNP was created in 1991. Countless number of police officers and men who were dismissed from the force for cases ranging from drugs, robbery-holdup and murder, Journal Group sources said, have been reinstated from the service after claiming they were denied due process during the investigation of their cases.
    
It’s the very same reason why some policemen who were caught on video engaged in shabu session or were positively identified by witnesses as killers or robbers were able to seek reinstatement after appealing their cases before the Napolcom and saying they were denied due process.
    
Officials said rogues in uniform simply wait for the retirement of the Chief, PNP or a PNP Regional Director who signed their dismissal papers before seeking reinstatement using their previous connections. It’s a common knowledge in the force that dismissed police crooks were able to get reinstatement by bribing some corrupt government officers.
    
Sen. Gordon said he is ‘pro-law and order’ but doesn’t want ‘any rotten policeman’ in this country.
    
“Speed is the name of the game,” he said in demanding that rogues be fired from the service within 15 days. Gordon even said that in the case of slain Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., the result of the Senate investigation alone is enough basis for the PNP to file charges against the police officers and men involved.
    
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Oscar D. Albayalde said they are really against the presence of rogues in uniform and are seeing to it that the cases of erring policemen are put in the archives and reopened as soon as they decide to seek reinstatement.
    
He particularly referred to rogues in the service who went on AWOL status. He said that in case an AWOL cop decides to seek reinstatement, his ‘archived case’ will be reopened and he will be subjected to a thorough investigation to determine the reason he went AWOL and the extent of his involvement in illegal activities.
    
“We are affording all our officers and men the due process they deserve but are seeing to it that the guilty ones will be punished accordingly,” Albayalde said.
    
The official has aired a renewed warning to rogue Metro Manila policemen: we will get you soon and will see that you will be fired from the service and jailed for your misconduct. The NCRPO chief said that on orders of Gen. Dela Rosa, they are prioritizing their internal cleansing program.
    
“I am issuing the stern warning on undisciplined and erring NCRPO personnel that they will be immediately investigated and removed from the service if warranted,” he said. The 2-star police general stressed that the NCRPO has a ‘no tolerance’ policy when it comes to rogues in uniform but maintained that they will observe due process and give the accused their day in court.
    
“I mean it well when I say that NCRPO has no place for bad eggs,” he said.
    
Currently, the NCRPO Discipline Law and Order Section (DLOS) is thoroughly reviewing 563 administrative cases filed against 896 of its men. Albayalde said 551 of those being investigated are facing grave offenses; 325 have less grave offenses while 20 are facing simple offenses.
    
The official said that the NCRPO Regional Investigation and Detection Management Division is also currently investigating and evaluating 373 complaints against Metro Manila policemen.   From July 1 to date, he said that they have penalized and dismissed 46, suspended 63 and demoted 4 others.
    
Albayalde stated that the NCRPO is doing its part in resolving the administrative cases filed against erring cops.
    
“Ginagawa po namin ang lahat upang maresolba at mabigyan ng karampatang parusa ang mga tiwaling pulis at upang mabigyan ng agarang hustisya ang mga biktima nito. Hinihikayat po namin ang publiko na patuloy na makipag-ugnayan sa pulisya at ipagbigay alam ang kanilang mga reklamo laban sa mga tiwaling pulis, gayun din ang mga impormasyon sa mga kabayanihan ng mga kapulisan para mabigyan din natin sila ng kaukulang pagkilala,” Albayalde said.
    
However, he maintained that “the involvement of the few police officers to illegal activities does not bespeak the discipline of our police. We have to give justice to our hard-working police officers.”
    
Last week, Albayalde said that Gen. Dela Rosa ordered the investigation and relief of a group of anti-narcotics agents from the metropolis who were identified in a video shown by Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson as conniving to ‘plant’ shabu on a target before demanding at least P2 million from him last October 26.
    
Albayalde said Gen. Dela Rosa has ordered the administrative relief of the entire team of Special Operations Task Group in the aftermath of the video shown by Lacson. He did not identify any of the accused but confirmed they are assigned with an anti-illegal drug SOTG in Metro Manila.