– (IAS, IMEG to join hands in going after rogues in uniform)
THE Philippine National Police is unleashing the combined powers of the PNP Internal Affairs Service and the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group in their ongoing campaign against rogues in uniform in support of the anti-corruption campaign of the Duterte administration, said outgoing PNP chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan.
The top cop who will mark his 56th birthday tomorrow said this involves the restructuring of the PNP-IMEG now headed by Brigadier Gen. Benjamin C. Acorda Jr. and having it placed under the operational control of the PNP-IAS headed by Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo.
The move is expected to boost the PNP’s internal cleansing drive as it will be giving the IAS the much needed team of officers from the IMEG to really arrest, jail and prosecute erring police officers and men.
On the other hand, the PNP-IMEG will be getting the much needed legal assistance from the team of lawyers from the IAS in ensuring the certainty of punishment against rogue members of the police force who have been arrested in entrapment operations.
The partnership of the two is crucial since the most common complaint is that charges being filed against misfits and scalawags in uniform are being dismissed due to a number of factors, one of which is the propensity of some PNP officials to come to the aid of their beleaguered men since it would be an embarrassment on their part if their erring personnel would be arrested, jailed and convicted in court.
One classic example is an incident in which PNP-IMEG agents last year arrested some maritime policemen accused of extortion by some Bicol fishermen.
The maritime policemen filed counter-charges against the IMEG operatives and despite an IMEG recommendation approved by then PNP chief, Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, literally got the full support of their officials and even the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management.
Journal Group sources said that with the PNP-IMEG under the operational control of the IAS, erring police officers and men who would be targeted by joint IMEG-IAS operations would find themselves facing full investigation by the IAS, a civilian unit organized ‘to police the police.’
According to Cascolan, studies are currently underway to reorganize the IAS as a separate and completely autonomous agency with the IMEG providing it with muscle as it will be the IAS’ main operating arm.
He earlier announced that the IAS and the IMEG will be the units tasked to conduct a ‘lifestyle check’ on police officers and men suspected to be having ill-gotten or questionable wealth in support of the government’s drive versus rogue public officials.
Cascolan said that from July 2016 to last month, a total of 16, 216 errant PNP personnel have been penalized as a result of their strict internal cleansing program. They include 4,681 policemen who were dismissed from the police force; 870 who got demoted and 851 who were suspended.
These erring policemen include those who were arrested for involvement in criminal activities including illegal drugs trafficking and abuse and other violations of the Revised Penal Code as well as those who went on AWOL or Absence Without Official Leave status.
The PNP chief said that a total of 518 PNP personnel including 14 Police Commissioned Officers who were involved and/or tested positive for use of illegal drugs are being subjected for validation and processing for separation from the service without prejudice to the filing of administrative and criminal cases against them.