Ex-PNP exec escapes Batangas cockpit raid
A former official of the Philippine National Police, who was dismissed three years ago over drug-related charges, was among the 49 people charged with illegal gambling and violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act following a government raid on an illegal cockfight at a compound inside a subdivision in Batangas province last week.
But Edgardo Tinio, a former Quezon City police chief, managed to slip away as he and the other suspects were being moved to the National Bureau of Investigation office in Batangas City, 3 kilometers away from the gated GC Berberabe Subdivision in Barangay Pallocan East.
Restaurant and resort owner Bienvenido Uri escaped with Tinio, Max Salvador, NBI director for the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), said on Monday.
Tinio was among the five police generals accused by President Duterte in 2016 of having ties to the illegal drug trade.
The last known mobile phone number of Tinio before he was dismissed in 2017 could no longer be reached on Monday.
“Along the way, back to the [NBI] office, [Tinio] was still there. But when we conducted the roll call [of those arrested], he was already gone,” Salvador said in a telephone interview.
He said those arrested boarded NBI vehicles but it was not clear how Tinio and Uri managed to flee.
The 47 others were detained at the NBI office, including the homeowner and businessman, Fernando Baylosis. The charges against them are bailable.
Salvador said the NBI implemented a search warrant issued by Judge Maria Cecilia Austria-Chua of Batangas Regional Trial Court Branch 2 into Baylosis’ home after receiving reports that an “unlicensed” cockpit was established in his residence to skirt the ban on cockfights during the pandemic.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has prohibited cockfights and gambling to prevent people from gathering and spreading the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The NBI raid happened around 10 a.m. on Saturday in the middle of a derby, with bets going as high as “millions” of pesos, Salvador said.
“There were a lot more people there [than the number of arrested]. They scampered away that some even chose to jump into a 15- to 20-foot deep ravine at the back of the subdivision [to evade arrest],” he said.
In Cebu City, the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (PNP-IMEG) arrested a policeman for allegedly taking part in an illegal cockfight and defying health protocols on Sunday. Cebu City was placed under enhanced community quarantine due to a spike in cases of COVID-19 early this month.
Brig. Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee, PNP-IMEG director, identified the suspect as Staff Sgt. Charlito Tinoy of the Central Visayas police personnel department’s holding and accounting section.
Tinoy was arrested along with civilians Jojo Mainit, Frederick Vosotros and Lando Calumba in a compound at Sitio Sudlon, Barangay Lahug.
Lee said Tinoy, who was also arrested in March for his alleged involvement in an illegal numbers game, was nabbed on Sunday “while actually manning, betting in the illegal cockfighting game.”
At a press conference on Monday, PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said Tinoy’s arrest should serve as a warning to police personnel “who refuse to toe the line.”
“I am both an officer of the law and an officer of the courts. Rest assured that I will file cases against you and hold you accountable for your criminal acts,” Gamboa said.
—With a report from Jeannette I. Andrade
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.