21 PNP officers fined for 2005-2008 spate of killings in Davao City
MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has fined 21 high-ranking officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Davao City for failure to resolve the spate of killings in Davao City in 2005 to 2008, attributed to the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), an anti-crime vigilante group.
Guilty of simple neglect of duty and meted a penalty of fine equivalent to their one-month salary were Police Senior Superintendents Catalino Cuy and Jaime Morente; Chief Inspectors Matthew Baccay, Filmore Escobal, Leandro Felonia, Marvin Manuel Pepino, Ranulfo Cabanog and Vicente Danao; Superintendents Harry Espela, Michael John Dubria and Rommil Mitra; and Senior Inspectors Maximiano Atuel and Arnulfo Mahinay.
Also fined were Chief Inspector Alden Delvo, Joselito Loriza, Joel Neil Rojo and Napoleon Eguia; Inspectors Rolly Tropico and Dionisio Abude; Senior Inspector Antonio Alberio Jr.; and P/CINSP Juel Neil Salcedo.
“From the foregoing figures, it is evident that respondents were remiss in their duty to significantly reduce the number of killings,” the Ombudsman said in her ruling.
The case stemmed from a letter-complaint addressed to the Office of the Ombudsman and sent by a person purporting to represent a group named Davao City Deserves Good Government Movement, that claimed that the DDS was “responsible for the unsolved killings of more than 800 persons.”
The same complaint alleged that high-ranking officers of the PNP were directly involved in the murders.
Records showed that from 2005 to 2008, the Davao City Police Office registered an unusually high number of unsolved killings.
The perpetrators of these executions were usually two motorcycle-riding gunmen and the killings were mostly drug-related.
In penalizing the police officers, the Ombudsman said, “Under Executive Order No. 226 dated 17 February 1995, an officer of the Philippine National Police or that of any other law enforcement agency is held accountable for ‘neglect of duty’ under the doctrine of ‘command responsibility’ if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective action either before during, or immediately after its commission.”
Investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman showed that in four years, there were 720 persons murdered—97 in 2005, 165 in 2006, 199 in 2007 and 259 in 2008.
A mere 321, or less than 50 percent of the cases, however, were solved. The killings were repeatedly committed within the areas of jurisdiction of respondents’ precincts where they were assigned.
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