PNP: Abong’s dismissal order not yet implemented due to pending appeal
MANILA, Philippines — Implementing orders on the dismissal from service of Lt. Col. Mark Julio Abong in relation to a hit-and-run case in 2022 have not yet been issued, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo explained that the Department of Interior and Local Government is still processing the second appeal made by Abong after the police force’s Regional Appellate Board (RAB) denied his first plea and affirmed the Quezon City People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) ruling concerning his dismissal in August 2023.
“Although the PLEB released its first decision last March, we could not execute this immediately because Lt. Col. Abong was able to file a timely appeal before the RAB,” Fajardo said in mixed Filipino and English during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Last March 27, PLEB released its decision removing Abong from the service for his alleged involvement in a cover-up of a hit-and-run incident that killed a tricycle driver in August last year.
The board said Abong was found guilty “for the grave offenses of misconduct, grave neglect of duty, and conduct unbecoming of a police officer with aggravating circumstances of employment of fraudulent means to conceal an offense.”
However, shortly after the RAB junked his first plea and released its decision this August, Abong again filed for another appeal, “exhausting his legal remedies.”
“He filed a timely appeal for the office of the secretary of interior and local government (SILG). So, the status of his case is there. On the part of the PNP, we cannot issue any implementing orders until the process is completed,” she added.
However, QC-PLEB executive officer and lawyer Rafael Calinisan said in an earlier interview that although the police officer filed an appeal and even with its presence, the decision of the board is still “final and executory” as stated in the Republic Act (RA) 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Act of 1990; RA 8551 Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998; and National Police Commission Circulars 2016-002, and 2019-005.
In response, Fajardo argued that only three bodies have the summary dismissal power — the chief PNP, the regional director, and the National Police Commission director.
“Hindi po kasama ang PLEB (PLEB is not included). With due respect to the PLEB, that’s why they themselves recognized the authority of the RAB on the appeal based on a letter in May 2023,” she explained.
Fajardo said PNP could not immediately act on PLEB’s dismissal order, which may cause technical problems and may even help Abong return to service.
“Ang hinihintay ng PNP, ang matapos ang proceso. At as of yesterday po, yun po ang office ng kagalang-galang na SILG na bibilisan po nila ang pagresolba ng kanyang appeal. And from there, once na may certificate of finality na po na inissue ang PLEB, then we will implement po the dismissal order po of Lt. Col. Abong. That is doon po sa una niyang kaso last year,” the PNP spokesperson said.
(The PNP is waiting for the process to be completed. As of yesterday, the office of SILG said they are expediting the process of Abong’s appeal. From there, once the PLEB issues the certificate of finality, we will implement his dismissal order concerning the case last year.)
Abong was also involved in a hit-and-run case near Anonas Street last August 2022 where he was charged for the death of Joel Larosa and the injury of the tricycle driver’s passenger. The victim’s family lodged complaints against him for allegedly trying to whitewash the case.
Reports on the police officer surfaced online after he got involved in a bar commotion in Quezon City for assaulting a bar server and harassing a customer outside the establishment by firing his gun twice last November 26.
On Monday, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) announced that Abong was slapped with charges of illegal discharge of firearms, alarm and scandal, and violating the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act in relation to the Omnibus Election code, as well as physical injury and slander by deed. The QCPD filed the formal complaints before the city’s prosecutor’s office on Sunday, shortly after Abong was arrested.
Regarding this new case, Fajardo said the director of PNP Legal Service endorsed an administrative case against Abong before the Internal Affairs Service.