Speaker pushes for one-strike policy vs erring cops after latest case of extortion
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is pushing for a one-strike policy against erring police officers after a recent incident where Chinese nationals accused policemen of robbery-extortion.
In a statement, Romualdez said that he will meet again with Philippine National Police (PNP) officials to urge the leadership to enforce the policy against so-called “ninja cops” and other erring police officers and their immediate superiors.
Romualdez said this in relation to the relief of 13 officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in the National Capital Region (NCR) after Chinese nationals alleged that the police officers arrested, robbed, and extorted money from them in exchange of their freedom.
“What is happening to our policemen? They are supposed to protect our citizens but they are accused of doing ‘hulidap’ and other extortion and illegal activities,” he said on Wednesday.
“I am appealing to our PNP chief to apply the one-strike policy not only to those involved in these activities but to their superiors. If the erring policemen belong to a station or a group, the station or group commander should be covered by such policy as well on the basis of command responsibility,” he added.
According to Romualdez, it is important for the PNP to remove bad officers from their ranks as these can hamper the police organizations’ efforts to improve its service.
“They have to weed out the bad eggs who are tainting the image of the police organization, which is not fair to those who are faithfully doing their job. They should make sure that only those who take their duties seriously and who are not involved in illegal activities remain in the service,” he said.
According to reports, a team of CIDG operatives showed up to one of the Chinese nationals’ homes while they were playing mahjong. The police officers apparently responded to noise complaints from the neighbors.
However, it appeared that eventually, the Chinese nationals were informed that the offense was for illegal gambling. Then, the police were accused of seizing luxury watches, a luxury bag, and a vault with at least P3 million cash.
Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia said that the complainants claimed they were arrested and brought to the CIDG headquarters at Camp Crame, and were supposedly asked for money worth P10 million “in exchange of their freedom”.
Among the 13 CIDG-NCR officers relieved includes CIDG-NCR chief Police Col. Hansel Marantan — a decorated police officer who became controversial in the past for gun battles, including the 2013 bloodbath in Atimonan, Quezon, that left 13 dead.
Marantan was the deputy intelligence chief of the Calabarzon regional police when he led the police operation, backed by soldiers, against alleged “jueteng” operator Vic Siman, who was among those killed in January 2013.
This is not the first time that Romualdez will speak to the PNP leadership. Last February 27, amid a recent spate of violence, Romualdez met with PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin and Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. to discuss what measures would be done to address the attacks against politicians.