Philippine Daily Inquirer

PNP recalls 500 men assigned to NBP

Pullout prompted by involvemen­t of some in smuggling of banned items like liquor, tobacco

- By Jeannette I. Andrade @jiandradei­nq from the —WITH A REPORT FROM NIKKA G. VALENZUELA

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has recalled around 500 personnel who were deployed earlier this month to augment security at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Speaking to Camp Crame reporters on the sidelines of the turnover rites for the Highway Patrol Group on Wednesday, PNP spokespers­on Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said that some 500 members of the National

Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) would be pulled out after some of them were caught sneaking alcohol, tobacco and electronic gadgets in or out of the national penitentia­ry.

“Well of course, the PNP leadership is saddened that there are these incidents where policemen are accused of trying to smuggle contraband into the NBP,” Banac added.

According to him, the withdrawal will allow them to look into the policemen’s background and character “so we are sure they are not easily tempted to accept anything offered to them.”

“We have to make sure that our policemen [assigned at the NBP] are strong against temptation and that they are principled,” Banac said.

Two policemen were initially caught trying to bring into the maximum security compound liquor concealed in iced tea bottles and tobacco. The banned items were reportedly for an inmate although both policemen did not identify him.

The NCRPO later announced that a total of 16 policemen were under investigat­ion for the same offense.

The lawmen were deployed in batches to the NBP earlier this month after newly installed Bureau of Correction­s (Bucor) director general Gerald Bantag relieved over 300 correction officers.

“We apologize to the public for our colleagues who are still involved in this kind of incident. You can trust that the PNP is taking steps to have rogues in our ranks removed service,” Banac said.

NCRPO chief Police Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, meanwhile, confirmed the pullout of his men although he said this was because the Bucor had already completed its clearing operations inside the NBP.

He added that should NBP officials request the deployment of more lawmen, he would propose that they be changed every 30 days to prevent them from “establishi­ng connection­s.”

“My idea is we do not want policemen to stay inside [the NBP] for too long. If the management asks for [police] deployment, my guidance is that [the police] should stay a maximum of 30 days. After 30 days, a new set of policemen will take over,” Sinas said.

He added that the 16 policemen currently under investigat­ion would face administra­tive cases should it be proven that they were involved in smuggling at the NBP.

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