Court clears 51 ARMM cops of cheating raps
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — A Regional Trial Court here has reinstated 51 policemen in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after clearing them of charges that they cheated in all four designated Mindanao testing areas for the police entrance examination conducted in 2011 by the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
In an eight-page decision dated June 25, 2014, Executive Judge Bansawan Ibrahim of the RTC Region 12 pointed to a lack of “corroborating evidence” to charge the petitioners under RA 9416, the Anti-Cheating Law, on the basis of mere “analysis (that) shows a pattern of answers of 387 successful examinees” in Jolo in Sulu, Zamboanga, Koronadal and Pagadian City, as raised by the Napolcom Regional Appellate Board (RAB).
The petitioners graduated from training in April 2011 and were admitted to the police service with valid appointments attested to by the Civil Service Commission, the court noted. But while in the service, the Napolcom RAB nullified their test results on July 20, 2012, based on a pattern of “analysis,” suggesting “statistical improbability.”
The supposed “pattern” of analysis covered 50 to 100 percent of individual results. These were summed up to show that 387 examinees had purportedly obtained “homogeneous (the same) wrong answers.” But lawyers Mimbalawag Mangotara Jr. and Erlan Deluvio, the petitioners’ counsels, argued that the public respondents’ statistical finding could not even be independently validated with an academic seal of authority.
In a statement, the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Reform (Pader) which helped the petitioners secure legal assistance, said the case was still under appeal at the Napolcom Regional Appellate Board when RAB forwarded it to the Commission, which ruled en banc to dismiss the respondents in July 2013.
The rest of the 336 affected policemen could also contest the Napolcom ruling, Pader said.
Pader founding chairman Edgar Yuga and vice president Eid Kabalu hailed the decision as “a golden opportunity for the illegally dismissed policemen to be able to regain back their integrity through demonstration of honesty, sincerity and commitment to community and public service.”
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