Pasay substation police chief, 26 officers axed as Pogo raid bares drawn-out illegal activity under their watch
MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Pasay City Police and 26 officers of a police substation have been relieved from their posts following the October 27 raid on a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) by the anti-human trafficking task force led by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Department of Justice.
Philippine National Police spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo said Pasay City Police Director Colonel Froilan Uy, Pasay City Police Substation 1 Commander Captain Criz Antonio Cataluña, and 25 other police officers were removed as they face an investigation for possible neglect of duty.
Fajardo said National Capital Region Police Office Director Brigadier General Jose Melencio Nartatez, Jr approved their removal.
“Iniimbistagahan po sila for possible neglect of duty dahil nangyari nga po ito na matagal na po itong Pogo establishment, how come na hindi po nila na-detect ‘yung presence ng mga illegal activities doon sa area,” she said in a press conference.
(They are being investigated for possible neglect of duty because this Pogo establishment has been around for a long time, [but] how come they did not detect the presence of illegal activities in the area.)
“Pina-relieve na po ng Regional Director yung NCRPO, including po ‘yung Chief of Police saka ‘yung Substation Commander,” she added.
(The Regional Director of NCRPO had them relieved, including the Chief of Police and the Substation Commander.)
Fajardo said Colonel Mario Mayanes will replace Uy as Pasay City Police chief and that the duty turnover will take place Friday.
According to the PNP spokesperson, the investigation would look into whether there was a lapse in command responsibility on the part of Uy and Cataluña and in the work of the 25 police officers for the early discovery of the illegal activities of the Pogo whose operation is located at the corner of Williams and Harrison Streets in Pasay City.
“Kung matagal na pong nage-exist itong Pogo na ito at may mga illegal activities po, remember mayroon po sa policy po ng PNP ‘yung one strike policy. Kung mayroong nangyayari diyan within your knowledge at wala kang ginawa, then you will be charged for neglect of duty po,” Fajardo explained.
(If this Pogo has existed for a long time and there are illegal activities, remember there is a one-strike policy in the PNP. If something has been happening there within your knowledge and you did nothing, then you will be charged with neglect of duty.)
As for the rescued human trafficking victims, Fajardo said they are currently in the custody of the Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Trafficking.
She likewise said that police may launch follow-up operations, citing additional evidence that police discovered in the computers seized from the Pogo.
The Pogo’s license has since been canceled while cases of human trafficking have already been filed against the suspects, Fajardo also noted.