‘Best’ to bashed: Caloocan police sacked en masse
“I don’t see a reason why you cannot understand the law and our policy. Our IQ isn’t that low, right? Suffer the consequences of your action. You wasted the opportunity given to you by the government to serve as policemen, not robbers.”
This was how the director of the National Capital Region Police Office admonished a group of police officers from Caloocan City for allegedly robbing a woman’s house in a drug raid last week.
NCRPO chief Director Oscar Albayalde cited the alleged Sept. 7 robbery, which was caught on security video, as basis for his order on Friday to sack practically the entire city police force. A move of such scope is considered rare, if not unprecedented, in the Philippine National Police.
A statement Albayadle issued later in the day clarified that the recently appointed Caloocan police chief, Senior Supt. Jemar Modequillo, and his assistant chief for administration, Chief Insp. Ilustre Mendoza, would be spared from the revamp.
Chance to reform
“They were just assigned in Caloocan less than two weeks ago. We will give them the chance to reform the police there,” Albayalde said.
The relief order covers about 1,200 personnel and will be carried out in batches, starting with members of Police Community Precinct (PCP) 4 who raided the woman’s house without a search warrant.
Albayalde, who spoke to reporters after giving PCP 4 members a dressing-down at his office, said PCPs 2 and 7 would be the next batch to be replaced for “retraining.”
He did not state the reason for including the two precincts, but these were the units of Caloocan policemen accused of summarily executing two teenagers—Kian delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz—last month.
In all, Albayalde’s order would immediately apply to 62 members of the Caloocan police and 13 more from the Northern Police District Public Safety Batallion.
The order came a day after a 51-year-old Caloocan resident filed a robbery complaint against 13 PCP 4 members who barged into her house in Barrio Sta. Rita, Barangay 188, Tala, on the night of Sept. 7.
The complainant said a man was arrested earlier that day and pointed to her as a drug pusher.
In the ensuing raid, the officers failed to find any drug but allegedly took cash and watches worth P30,000 from the house.
Albayalde said the raiding team’s leader, Senior Insp. Warren Peralta, and PCP4 commander Chief Insp. Timothy Aniway Jr. were among those immediately relieved of their posts.
The sacked Caloocan policemen will be made to undergo a 45-day retraining and reorientation program at the NCRPO headquarters in Taguig.
They will be replaced by a force from the Regional Public Safety Battalion and the contingent deployed during the recent Asean summit.
Just last month, the NCRPO was all praises for the Caloocan City police for being the “best police station” in Metro Manila.
In awarding rites led by Albayalde himself and PNP chief Director Ronald dela Rosa, the city police received praise for having the “highest accomplishment in Project Double Barrel/Barrel Alpha,” PNP initiatives pushing President Duterte’s bloody campaign against drugs and crime.
According to the citation, the Caloocan police posted the “highest number of arrested/neutralized top most wanted persons and high-value targets,” as well as the “most number of firearms confiscated in 2016.”
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, one of the vocal critics of Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs that has left thousands dead over the last 15 months, welcomed the NCRPO directive to sack the Caloocan police en masse.
“Praise the Lord! But I do hope the appropriate charges will first be filed against those among them who are proven to have abused their authority,” the prelate said on Friday.
“This is the only way the PNP can protect the integrity of the whole police institution: by disciplining their own ranks and following only just and lawful orders from their superiors,” said David, who on Thursday called on witnesses and families victimized by police abuse to come out and file charges.—WITH REPORTS FROM JULIE M. AURELIO AND MATTHEW REYSIO-CRUZ