‘Hazing victims’ graduate from police training camp
The female police trainees who spoke out against hazing in July yesterday ended their Special Counter-Insurgency Operations Unit Training (Scout) in Sibonga town, south Cebu where the abuse took place.
“Maltreatment” during training should be corrected, said Chief Supt. Samuel Yordan, deputy chief for administration of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), in a speech at their graduation ceremony at Camp Ceferino Genovia.
“If you experienced maltreatment, this lapse should be corrected. Don’t let it happen to others. We should be transparent in everything,” he said.
Out of 12 police officers who complained of hazing to the National Police Commission (Napolcom), 11 finished the rigid training course.
These include women who objected when their training officers would strike the soles of their feet with a stick as a “disciplinary” action.
Two training directors and five other police officers face charges before the Napolcom.
Trainees yesterday changed their camouflage green hats with black berets, then opened a can of beer, raising it in the air in a celebratory toast.
They were congratulated by Regional Special Training Unit (RSTU) training manager Senior Insp. Dexter Calacar, one of those facing grave misconduct and serious neglect of duty charges.
He told Cebu Daily News he already “reconciled” with the hazing complainants and would answer the charges in the Napolcom.
He said two were not fit for training while PO2 Marcelina Bautista had to retake some subjects.
PO2 Janell Junco, one of the 12 complainants, said she was just glad to finish the course and that she dedicated her efforts to her family.
Junco refused to comment on the case, saying she would leave it to the Napolcom in Central Visayas (Napolcom-7)
In an interview, Yordan said hazing during training “is a thing of the past. Physical punishment is not healthy.”
Jordan said some police trainees end up returning to the camp as assistant instructors. Any “wrong experiences” like hazing should not be passed on to future batches.
Out of 170 police officers who took the Scout training, 167 police officers finished the 68-day course as the 32nd batch in Central Visayas.
Training director Insp. Juanito Nuñez is also facing an administrative case for grave misconduct and serious neglect of duty.
The five other police officers – PO2 Milinie Francisco, PO2 Diana Paghasi-an, PO1 Wilmore Alvarado, PO1 Kelvin Mendrano and PO1 Aaaron Genera, served as assistant instructors.
They were cited for grave misconduct and serious irregularity in the performance of duty based on the Anti-Hazing Law (Repubilc Act 8047).
If found guilty, they could be suspended up to 90 days, demoted or dismissed from service.
Last July 13, 12 trainees complained of hazing but only seven female police officers went to the Sibonga police station to file a complaint against their assistant instructors.
A medical certificate documented bruises on their feet and the back of their legs.
The women said their instructors hit their bare feet with sticks as punishment for mistakes during the training.
The training manager and training director were implicated as part of command responsibility./with reports by Correspondent Chito O. Aragon
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