DILG probes promotion scam at BFP
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos ordered a “thorough and deeper” investigation on personnel involved in the “lateral promotion for sale” scam of fire officers at the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
The directive was issued on Thursday following the arrest of Fire Officer 1 Ramces Paul Benipayo, assigned to the Muntinlupa Fire Station.
Benipayo was collared by undercover operatives of the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in an entrapment operation in front of a mall in Barangay Alabang around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
According to Abalos, Benipayo asked his classmate, a BFP fire officer from Western Visayas, for P200,000 in exchange for being assisted in the BFP’s lateral entry promotion.
Officers who got promoted laterally earn a rank of Fire Inspector, earning a base monthly salary of P49,528.
“I have been briefed on the case of FO1 Benipayo and I could say that what he did was unacceptable,” Abalos said.
“We will not tolerate this kind of illegal activity. That’s why I’ve already ordered the PNP to work closely with the BFP to get to the bottom of this issue and prosecute everyone involved,” he added.
Both the PNP and BFP are attached agencies of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
‘Cohorts within the bureau’
In a press briefing on Wednesday in Camp Crame, Chief Supt. Gilbert Dolot, director of the BFP intelligence and investigation division, said they have started to look for Benipayo’s cohorts within the bureau, after three more complainants surfaced of being victims of the scam.
Col. Reynaldo Lizardo, head of CIDG’s antiorganized crime unit, said Benipayo told them the identity of his accomplice, who turned out to be a retired BFP officer.
Benipayo, who entered the BFP only in 2018, was hooked on online gambling, based on the BFP’s background investigation.
Benipayo had undergone inquest proceedings before the Muntinlupa Prosecutor’s Office for violating Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and estafa in relation to RA 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
He is currently detained at the CIDG detention facility in Camp Crame.