Wednesday, September 10, 2014
8 Police Officers in EDSA Kidnap Charged
The noose further tightened against eight active policemen involved in the EDSA kidnapping and robbery after they were charged and then ordered to undergo dismissal proceedings yesterday.
Charged with highway robbery, serious illegal detention, and kidnapping were Chief Inspector Joseph De Vera, Police Officer 2 Jonathan Rodriguez, Senior Inspector Oliver Villanueva, Senior Police Officer 1 Ramil Hachero, PO2 Weavin Masa, PO2 Mark De Paz, PO2 Jerome Datinguinoo, and PO2 Ebonn Decatoria. All of them, except Rodriguez, are assigned to the La Loma Police Station of the Quezon City Police District. Rodriguez is assigned to the District Public Safety Battalion. Also charged was dismissed Senior Inspector Marco Polo Estrera.
De Vera, a multi-awarded police officer, and Rodriguez are now in the custody of the Mandaluyong Police Station.
On the other hand, Villanueva, Hachero, Masa, De Paz, Datinguinoo and Decatoria reportedly went into hiding after learning about the arrest of De Vera. They are now considered on absence without official leave (AWOL) and now the subject of a manhunt along with Estrera.
As this developed, the Eastern Police District (EPD) said that three more people, including another police officer, allegedly took part in the EDSA incident.
Chief Superintendent Abelardo Villacorta, EPD director, identified the police officer as Senior Inspector Allan Enlano. The two other new suspects remain unidentified.
Villacorta said the addition of the three brings to 12 the total number of suspects involved in the September 1 EDSA kidnapping and robbery.
Aside from the charges, Director General Alan Purisima, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, ordered the conduct of dismissal proceedings against the eight active policemen. No criminal and administrative cases have been filed against Enlano as he was just implicated yesterday.
With the involvement of the eight policemen in the P2-million robbery, Chief Supt. Richard Albano relieved Superintendent Osmundo de Guzman as La Loma Police Station commander. He was replaced by Supt. Dionisio Bartolome, the current chief of the QCPD District Special Operations Unit (DSOU).
De Vera – who has been awarded with more than 30 medals, awards, and commendations in his 13 years as a police officer – was De Guzman’s deputy commander, while Villanueva was the head of the Investigation Branch.
Among the medals, awards, and commendations handed out to De Vera, who is married and has two children, include six Letters of Commendation, 10 Medalya ng Kasanayan, the last of which was awarded to him by Director Carmelo Valmoria, the regional director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), on March 12 of this year; six Medalya ng Papuri, a Medalya ng Kagalingan, a Medalya ng Papuri, three Certificates of Recognition, two Letters of Appreciation, amon others.
Since becoming a police officer more than a decade ago, De Vera has been assigned to a number of offices such as the Special Action Force (SAF) on January 7, 2002, at the QCPD headquarters in Camp Karingal, on May 3, 2002; schooling at the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) on February 6, 2006; at the QCPD Police Station 6 in Batasan on September 18, 2008; and as the deputy chief of the QCPD District Operation and Plans Division on March 2, 2009.
Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief police information officer, said the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has already been directed to start the investigation for administrative charges against the eight active policemen.
Normally, Sindac said IAS would only conduct investigation if there is a complainant but the official explained that the Chief PNP has the power to order it to start the probe against any erring personnel.
“The IAS can investigate on its own initiative, especially if there is an order coming from the Chief PNP,” said Sindac.
The administrative proceedings normally take a month, according to Sindac, what with some of the procedures that safeguard the right to due process by any involved policemen.
The proceedings, however, states that after a policeman is declared AWOL, the next course of actions if he continues to remain at large is the dropping of their names from the rolls and payroll.
But in every step, Sindac said the procedures dictate that the policeman is notified at least through a mail to his last known address.
The declaration of AWOL, according to Sindac, also warrants other administrative charges such as dereliction of duty as the policemen have a daily task to do.
It was recalled that the investigation on what is now known as EDSA robbery and kidnapping started through a photo that has gone viral in the social media.
The ensuing probe resulted in the tracing of the owners of the vehicles that ended with the names of cops as owners.
The PNP, it was recalled, has been at the forefront of controversy following the involvement of its personnel in several illegal activities such as the killing of Enzo Pastor wherein the gunman is a cop, the killing of a police official in Quezon City wherein the brains ended up as policemen and the shooting incident in Pangasinan school wherein the shooter is a cop.
But despite the involvement of its personnel, Sindac appealed to the public not to look down on the entire organization, saying the rotten eggs in the 148,000-strong organization is only represented by a handful of its personnel.
“The fact that those who arrested these erring policemen are also cops means that we are really serious in purging the police organization with misfits,” said Sindac.
So far, Sindac said a manhunt was already launched against the six other policemen. He said they have not received any surrender feeler form any of them as of yesterday.
Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government has “zero tolerance” for rogue cops.
Coloma assured that the PNP will continue to cleanse its ranks.
“We are implementing a zero tolerance policy for so called rogue cops,” Coloma said in a Palace press briefing.
Coloma brushed aside concerns that the EDSA kidnapping incident was a major blow against the PNP.
“What would be a major blow is if there is no effort on the part of its leadership to clean up its ranks. What would be a major blow is if there would be a situation where the PNP is not doing its duty,” he said.
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