Controversy surrounds PNP’s raid of Pogo office in Las Piñas
MANILA, Philippines — Social media platforms have been abuzz with claims that abuse and maltreatment were obvious during the raid of the police at an office of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (Pogo) in Las Pinas City.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), however, denied these allegations, although acknowledging that eight foreign nationals sustained injuries during the raid that took place on Tuesday afternoon at Xianchuang Network Technology Inc., located at 501 Alabang-Zapote, Almanza Uno, Las Pinas City.
Over 2,000 individuals who were taken into custody allegedly remain at the headquarters. Additionally, the water and electricity supply to the premises have been disconnected, further exacerbating the situation for the apprehended employees, who were reportedly rescued by the authorities.
According to the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG), several foreign individuals may have been angered as some of their Filipino colleagues were purportedly released. The injured individuals were promptly transported to hospitals, where eight received medical attention for their injuries, five sustained minor wounds, while 35 were unharmed, according to authorities.
Netizens claimed that videos circulated on social media captured the sounds of gunfire from the authorities’ firearms, heightening the anxiety among the employees.
Earlier, Police Captain Michele Sabino, spokesperson for the PNP Cyber Crime Group, affirmed that no employees claimed to have been detained or mistreated.
“They work 12-hour shifts. I have not received any complaints from them. Some are allowed to leave once a week, while others are not. They receive their salaries,” stated the official of the Pogo firm, contradicting reports of the police suggesting a “rescue” operation.
“How can this be called a rescue when those apprehended are left without food? To make matters worse, they were maltreated, resulting in the deaths of three individuals,” expressed a relative of one of the arrested individuals.
It has also come to light that the victims were denied access to their own legal representation and were coerced into signing documents prohibiting them from filing complaints, despite being presented with a public attorney.
Relatives of the detained employees expressed confusion regarding the labeling of the operation as a “rescue,” considering they had no complaints against the employers.
“Does a rescue involve beatings and gunfire?” questioned a pregnant woman whose husband was among those arrested by the police.
Reports have additionally emerged claiming that the PNP compelled the employees to sign documents against their will.
The raid was carried out by the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), and the PNP Intelligence Group.