Teen thieves tag 2 cops as protectorsBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two members of the Manila Police District (MPD)—one with the rank of senior police officer 1 and the other a rookie with the rank of police officer 1—have been tagged as the brains behind a gang of minors who rob tourists in the Ermita area.
The information came from two teenagers who were arrested recently by the police for robbing a Japanese tourist of P40,000 worth of cash and valuables as he was walking on Mabini Street.
“The policemen, the two claimed, tell them to steal from tourists. They then give their loot to these two policemen who share the proceeds with them,” said Superintendent Leo Magno Manuel.
Manuel is the head of the Manila-based Criminal Investigation and Detection Group whose members arrested the two minors—a boy and his sister aged 16 and 17 years old—on Saturday afternoon.
Senior Superintendent Robert Po, MPD deputy director for operations, yesterday said that he had ordered the District Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) unit and Women’s and Children’s Protection Desk to investigate the two policemen for child trafficking.
“We are weeding out [from] our ranks [the] scalawags and misfits,” he told the Inquirer as he added that both lawmen had been directed to report to the MPD headquarters and subject themselves to an investigation.
DIDM head Superintendent Francisco Gabriel, meanwhile, declined to identify the two policemen as according to the law, neither the victims nor suspects in human trafficking cases should be identified under Republic Act No. 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
Manuel told the Inquirer that following their arrest, the two teenagers told investigators that they and other minors had been robbing tourists upon the orders of the two policemen.
“The operation has been going on for a long time. One of the robbery suspects said that he had been enjoying the protection of the two policemen for several years,” he added.
Manuel noted that this would explain why the police had been having problems going after the gang composed of minors.
“We found it difficult to arrest the robbers because they had coddlers,” he said.
The two teenage suspects have been placed in the care of the social welfare department pending the filing of robbery charges against them.