Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. has ordered the inspection of all police detention facilities has been ordered to ensure the protection of the rights of arrested individuals.
Acorda ‘s order came after members of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) arrested a police station commander in Angeles City, Pampanga and six other policemen for alleged unlawful arrest and arbitrary detention of 13 civilians.
Acorda said the Chief of the Directorial Staff is set to issue an order including the status of custodial facilities in their areas of jurisdiction as a credential for the promotion of police commanders.
The PNP also said charges have been filed against the Angeles City policemen after authorities discovered that the policemen were allegedly keeping 13 individuals at the Angeles City Police Station 2 without any charges filed.
“Let this be a reminder to the commanders, provincial directors and even a city director, you should know what your men are doing, get out of your office, inspect,” Acorda told reporters during Monday’s press briefing held at Camp Crame.
Acorda urged the public to report rogue police officers in their community as he vowed to be “quick and decisive” in their cleansing efforts.
“Don’t be afraid to report, the police should be ready to accept the reports and we will assure them that these reports that are given to us will be acted upon and protected as well. That’s what the whistleblowers are looking for—aasurance that they will be safe,” Acorda said.
According to the PNP chief, IMEG and the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) would be given “more teeth” to weed out erring personnel from the service IMEG chief Brig. Gen. Warren de Leon said station commander Maj. Marvin Aquino, Master Sgt. Romulo Meligrito, Staff Sgts. Nikko Dave Marquez and Mark Steven Sison, and Corporals Richard Gozum, Diosdado Villamor Jr. and Jaypee Mangilit were arrested on Friday.
De Leon said the planned operation also resulted in the arrest of a civilian asset identified as Esmael Arviola for illegal possession of a .38-caliber revolver with four live ammunitions.
The operation stemmed from the complaint of the daughter of a recently arrested drug offender, who claimed the suspects asked for PHP30,000 in exchange for the lesser offense of illegal gambling instead of violations under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The alleged offender was arrested in Angeles City on May 28 by Police Station 2 agents.
“During the conduct of inspection at the PUPC (person under police custody) detention cell, it was found out that 13 persons were arbitrarily detained without any single complaint filed against them up to the time of operation,” De Leon said.
“Further, no entry at the official police blotter and in the CIRAS (crime information reporting and analysis system) of the station in relation to the arrest and other circumstances causing the (continuous) detention of the victims.”
In another statement, Police Regional Office-3 (Central Luzon) director Brig. Gen. Jose Hidalgo Jr. reaffirmed their “continuous commitment in support of the Internal Cleansing Program to cleanse the ranks and identify rogue PNP members whether they are active, retired, or dismissed from the service.”
He said the arrested cops were immediately relieved from their posts.
The suspects are detained at the IMEG custodial facility in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
The IMEG is the primary PNP unit going after erring policemen while the Internal Affairs Service is in charge of initiating administrative charges.