CONGRATULATIONS are in order for members of the Quezon City Police District who arrested three of their rogue colleagues -- all Police Officers 1 from the QCPD Anonas Station -- accused of robbery-extortion last Thursday.
PO1s Ryan Parungo, Dennis Maagda, and Ronnel Biag are now facing criminal and administrative charges after being accused of illegally arresting a man with the help of two civilian cohorts and threatening to jail him if he would not pay their monetary demand.
All three were arrested in an entrapment conducted by QCPD operatives led by Insp. Alan de la Cruz. A known disciplinarian, QCPD director, Senior Supt. Richard Albano vowed that the three would be fired from the service for their misdemeanors.
I’m quite sure that it was not the first time that the three have engaged in such illegal act for the love of easy money. It appears that many “enterprising” policemen are engaged in similar criminal acts using different modus operandi. They are no different from three members of the QCPD Station 10 in Kamuning who in 2011 tried to “snatch” a close relative about to go home in Cubao in the middle of the evening.
Those cops were about to bring their prey to a civilian car when bystanders came to her help. Realizing the presence of countless witnesses, those cops released their target.
An angry NCRPO chief named Nick Bartolome ordered the immediate transfer and investigation of the three. Although the act was not consummated, it was obvious that the three were up to something illegal, including planting any kind of evidence against their prey to force her to cough up money, the good general who went on to become a PNP chief told me. I agree with him. If the three QCPD cops really had a case then, the presence of bystanders can not stop them from bringing a suspect to their station.
I have asked NCRPO chief Dindo Espina to look into the records of those three QCPD policemen involved in the Cubao incident. Again, I would say that these few rogue PO1s and other police officers are the ones tarring the image of the PNP which is trying hard to regain the trust and confidence of the people.
Cases of these “rotten apples” again give me the idea of giving officers more disciplinary powers over their men similar to Presidential Decree 1968 which amended Article 105 of the Commonwealth Act 408 or ‘The Articles of War’ in the Armed Forces.
Many officials told me that during the defunct Constabulary-Integrated National Police days, a constable who commits a grave mistake would prefer to be subjected to Article 105 than be the object of an official investigation that would lead to their dismissal.
To refresh memories, Article of War 105 made sure that erring soldiers would be punished immediately, not unlike in the PNP where “due process” must always be observed, where a policeman can always sue his commanders and where rogue cops accused of murder, armed robbery, extortion, rape, and drug trafficking cannot be immediately jailed unless caught in the act or there is a warrant for their arrest.
Worst, these rogue officers sometimes get “juicy” positions and are even promoted with the help of their influential backers, sometimes from the Department of Interior and Local Government-National Police Commission and other powerful officials of the land.
This is the very same reason why PNP chief Alan Purisima is seeing to it that the record of the administrative charges filed against any cop would be put in digital form to prevent them from altering the records in the future and ask for a reinstatement. claiming they were not given due process.
Purisima and his officials agree that as soon as they retire from the service, the hundreds of policemen they have fired from the force would try to seek a “backer” to re-apply in the police organization, particularly the young rascals who have dozens of years left in the service.
These rogue cops obviously are waiting for Purisima et al to retire before making their re-entry into the force. Why? It’s because they have the money, the guns, the training, and the connections up to now. Three years is not too long for any dismissed cop provided that he can make all alibis and motions for reconsideration, in the spirit of due process, once their tormentors are gone.
Returning to Article 105, that dreaded AFP regulation provided substantial justice and fairness and due process of law to members of the military although it gave commanding officers full power to withhold privileges of an erring soldier, restrict him to quarters; detain him for 30 consecutive days or withhold or forfeit his salary for three months, and demote them to one or two lower ranks.
During the dictatorship, ground commanders were also authorized to impose hard labor on erring soldiers or even confine them on bread and water or diminished rations for not more than five consecutive days.
To top it all, Article 105 declared that any commanding officer who refuses to act or delays action on a valid complaint against a person under his command, or refuses or delays to impose a disciplinary punishment under the article when warranted by the evidence, or otherwise aids or abets the wrongdoing of a subordinate shall be subject to action by his immediate superior officer or punished by a court martial.
Stop blaming the PNP chief and the other police officials for the abusive acts being committed by a few scalawags in the force.The PNP leadership right now has its “zero-backlog” program when it comes to administrative cases. The sad reality is that when these policemen were dispatched to the field, they were put into the hands of small-unit commanders who don’t care what their men do as long as they earn their keep regularly and their abusive men “deliver”.
Blame it also to administrative investigators who have made it a habit to mulct from the cops they are investigating so that they can be exonerated or given light penalties.
This is also reason enough to investigate the immediate commanders of the policemen who have committed not only administrative offenses but, worst, criminal acts, including those who protect cell phone thieves and bus robbers and those who themselves have engaged in armed robbery, rape, summary executions, torture, and murders.
I propose that the immediate commanders of these rogue cops be relieved from their offices and subjected to administrative charges. Relieving them from their post is not enough. They should be meted some form of penalties, too. In the event this materializes, ground commanders would make sure that they fully watch their men, knowing that their careers are at stake.