Group nabbed for posing as cops in Guimaras
ILOILO CITY—A nationwide volunteer organization formed to support President Duterte’s campaign against corruption, criminality and illegal drugs is now in hot water after 12 of its members raided a house in Guimaras province carrying unlicensed firearms and posed as policemen.
Members of Task Force Crusaders (TFC) have been detained at the police station of the capital town of Jordan since Tuesday night and are facing complaints of illegal possession of firearms, usurpation of authority and qualified trespassing to dwelling, according to Chief Insp. Sheila Marie Sardoma, Jordan police chief.
TFC national commander and retired police official Romeo Maganto confirmed that those arrested were members of their organization. Maganto, however, said their actions were not authorized.
“They overacted. Huwag silang magpulis-pulisan (They should not act as policemen) because we are only an auxiliary group,” Maganto told the Inquirer.
“I told them to face the criminal complaints resulting from their actions,” he said.
Police arrested the TFC members after they raided the house of Ferdinand Ronsales in Jordan on Tuesday night.
The group’s members, all residents of Iloilo province, were armed with hand guns and claimed to be policemen conducting a raid on an illegal gambling den.
“They have no authority to conduct any raid or operation because they are not members of any law enforcement agency. And even members of (law enforcement agencies) coordinate with us if they conduct operations here,” Sardoma said.
Police confiscated 10 handguns, all of which were unlicensed, from the group.
The criminal complaints were filed in the Guimaras provincial prosecutor’s office on Wednesday, according to Sardoma.
Among the respondents were Ian Paclibar, the group’s regional commander, and members Rodolfo Andrade, Alfredo Ticar, Nelwin Telleran, Loreto Rendon, Angel Allado Jr., Rommel Baniola, Larry Agrabio, Jose Gerald Ausin, Juanito Magbanua, Refrain Flor and Eldy Flores.
Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas police director, said they welcomed the help of volunteer organizations but he said this should be within the bounds of the law.
He said only the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies could lead anticrime operations.
“That should be made clear,” Binag told the Inquirer.
He said the volunteer groups should only provide information subject to validation. Volunteers, he said, could join the operations but in a supporting role related only to the information they provided.
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