Philippine Daily Inquirer


Liquor, tobacco, electronic gadgets seized from newly assigned officers

- By Matthew Reysio-cruz @Matthewinq

At least 16 policemen are under investigat­ion for trying to smuggle contraband either in or out of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said on Tuesday.

The errant lawmen were among 551 NCRPO personnel sent to secure the maximum security compound earlier this month after Bureau of Correction­s (Bucor) director Gerald Bantag dismissed 300 guards over allegation­s of corruption.

Bantag had requested their deployment pending a more rigid vetting process for replacemen­t jail guards, with former NCRPO chief Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar even enjoining his men to “show the public how discipline­d and determined NCRPO personnel [were].”

Unfortunat­e report

But the hope that the Philippine National Police’s supposed brand of discipline would whip the beleaguere­d Bucor into shape appeared to collapse as acting NCRPO director Police Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas made public the “unfortunat­e report.”

On Monday, the 16 policemen whom Sinas declined to name reported to the NCRPO Regional Investigat­ion and Detective

Management Division (RIDMD) where they were instructed to submit their counteraff­idavits by today.

The lawmen, formerly from the district and regional mobile force company, were reassigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit pending the results of the investigat­ion.

Earlier, they were caught with various contraband like liquor, electronic gadgets and tobacco on separate instances. The seized items were turned over to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

“This is saddening but we will not concede,” Sinas said in a statement. “This is just one of our continuing challenges. We will not relent on our reforms to cleanse our organizati­on.”

Right to due process

However, he also asserted the policemen’s right to due process, saying they should be given a chance to explain themselves instead of being “condemned outright.”

The RIDMD is expected to issue its evaluation of the case on Friday.

Sinas also bared a plan to replace all NCRPO personnel at the NBP every other month so that they would “avoid being corrupted and [to] spurn possible bribes from inmates.”

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