“A lapse in judgment.”
This was the excuse purportedly given by the highest-ranking officer among the 12 Quezon City policemen who were caught on video taking banned firecrackers from a heap confiscated by their colleagues on New Year’s Eve.
Quezon City Police District deputy director for operations Senior Supt. Neri Ilagan on Thursday said he had spoken with Chief Insp. Michael Sanchez of the QCPD District Public Safety Battalion, who appeared on the video practically leading his subordinates as they grabbed their share from the pile that was supposedly set for disposal at the Camp Karingal grandstand.
“He basically explained that it was a lapse in judgment,” Ilagan told the Inquirer, referring to Sanchez.
It was sad and disappointing to see the policemen acting in that manner, Ilagan stressed, adding: “We cannot tolerate their actions which the public can only perceive to be conduct (that is) highly unexpected from a policeman.”
The QCPD official clarified, however, that not everyone in the video participated in the looting. “I saw some who were holding some firecrackers apparently out of curiosity and were not exactly pocketing them.”
But all the officers seen in the video—whether they were taking the firecrackers or simply watching on the sidelines—would be summoned in the investigation, he said.
Aside from the 12 who were caught on camera, four more policemen may be included in the administrative charge, which cites them for grave misconduct, he added.
National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina earlier identified the other QCPD personnel tagged in the incident as SPO1 Ricardo Llena Jr.; PO3 Jay Bonifacio Raz, Boy Clarito Blancad and Robert Rodillas; PO2 Winston Quintos; and PO1 James Bareo, Eric Bote, Gerald Coronel, Richard Paz, Raymar Consejo and Jaypee Tabo.