The PICOP Resources Inc. (PRI), formerly Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines), has filed administrative complaints against newly designated Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat arising from a P120-million robbery at the firms plant in Bislig City, Surigao del Norte.
In its complaint filed at the National Police Commission (Napolcom), PICOP also sought the preventive suspension of Caramat, then Bislig City police chief at the time of the January 2022 robbery.
The complainant accused Caramat of serious neglect of duty and irregularities in the performance of duty in connection with the Bislig police’s handling of the robbery.
The complaint, filed by PRI executive Francisco Buencamino recalled that a group of persons, allegedly members of the union AKHPRI-AWATU led by one Juan Guibone and another identified only as Bullezer “illegally” barged into the Bislig plant compound.
“They maliciously destroyed PICOP’s forklift and also attempted to steal items inside,” the charge sheet read.
On January 20, 2022 unidentified people went inside compound PICOP compound in Tabon, Bislig City. They forcibly dismantled PICOP properties—valuable, resaleable metal items. The alleged labor union members claimed to implement a Writ of Execution issued by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).” PRI said in a statement.
The complainant asserted argued that the writ of execution was “illegally” issued by the NLRC.
The writ cannot bypass the Stay Order issued on June 6, 2008 by the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) that aimed to preserve the assets of PICOP. These include foreclosed properties for which creditors, primarily Land Bank of the Philippines, have prior claims over, the PRI statement said.
It added that on January 21, 2022, a group led by Bislig City councilor Geoffrey Cagakit, NLRC Sheriff Alan Ross Catuta, and labor union members Tita Caya, a certain Gator, labor leader Sixto Degamo with around 80 supporters forcibly opened PICOP gate shutters by using acetylene cutter and other materials such as round timber, lumber, and iron rod.”
Caramat was charged with violating the “Uniform Rules of Procedure before Disciplinary Authorities and Internal Affairs Services or URPDA-IAS of PNP (Philippine National Police); for neglect of duty or nonfeasance; and for irregularities in the performance of duty.”
The URPDA-IAS under a PNP Memorandum Circular states that failure or refusal to take command in an emergency, failure to quell a disturbance, and failure to respond to a call for assistance are a serious neglect of duty. PICOP has earlier notified PNP of such Stay Order.
“As law enforcers, Caramat is duty-bound to ensure that the Stay Order was respected, and that peace and order is maintained,” said the PRI said.
“As a result, Bislig City’s claim of P120 million in the rehabilitation case was jeopardized because he did not prevent the crimes. This is tantamount to plunder due to an illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposion of assets.”
“Because of the high position of Caramat, there is a potental that he may unduly influence witnesses. Hence, he must be placed under preventive suspension because of the gravity of the charges and to prevent him from potentially harassing witnesses.”