I’M referring to rogues in uniform whose love for money, their unquenched thirst to earn money thru illegal means has earned them a spot at the small CCTV camera-equipped detention facility of the Philippine National Police Counter-Intelligence Task Force in Camp Crame where they are being guarded by elite Special Action Force commandos.
These scalawags, policemen or not, have paid a dear price for ignoring repeated warnings by PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde that they will be caught sooner or later. They apparently thought that the PNP chief doesn’t’ mean real business and completely ignored the fact that the PNP-CITF has the means to identify and arrest them, and even neutralize them in case they put up an armed resistance just like the nine cops who are now six feet underground after engaging CITF men in firefights last year,
These rogues’ love for money appears to be already embedded in their blood that they apparently would get sick in case they fail to mulct a target every hour of the day. I’m citing in particular the case of two rogues in uniform who were arrested in entrapment operations this week alone by the PNP-CITF headed by Senior Superintendent Romeo ‘Bong’ Caramat Jr., a known ‘warrior’ from Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992 of which current PNP spokesman, Senior Supt. Bernie Banac also belongs.
Last Friday, PNP-CITF operatives arrested a member of the PNP Highway Patrol Group—Police Officer 3 Juwie Dalogdog of the HPG Dapitan City Team for robbery-extortion and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. It turned out that the accused had been the subject of complaints from truck and wing van drivers entering the Puluan Port in Dapitan City and being forced to shell out P20 to P200 to the cop.
The PNP-CITF agents, joined by agents from the PNP Intelligence Group under Senior Supt. Edgar Monsalve and the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company conducted the entrapment operation which led to the arrest of the suspect who yielded P200 in marked bills, P470 in different denominations which were all believed to be ‘proceeds’ of his illegal activity and a loaded caliber .45 pistol with a magazine containing nine live ammunition.
Caramat told me they conducted the entrapment operation in coordination with the PNP-HPG headed by Chief Supt. Bong Fajardo and the Police Regional Office 9 headed by Chief Supt. Ringo. Licup, both of PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987. Fajardo said he won’t tolerate any wrongdoings of his men and would see to it that they would pay for their misdeeds.
Actually, Fajardo and his predecessors have not been remissed in reminding their regional chiefs that such illegal activity has no place in the HPG. They were referring to the illegal practice of HPG field operatives in the 70s up to the early 90s to demand so-called ‘safe passage fees’ from drivers of fish, vegetable and other delivery trucks passing thru their areas. The money is being tossed by drivers or their helpers into ‘boxes’ put up by the rogues or right inside their patrol cars.
Then there is the case of Mark Bien Perez Ureta, a team leader of the anti-scalawag’ unit of the Manila City Hall Traffic and Parking Bureau who was arrested in an entrapment operation right in front of the city hall last Monday evening.
Caramat said that Ureta was handcuffed by PNP-CITF operatives after he received P6,000 in marked bills from a complainant identified as Ronald Guanzon, a fruit/vegetable dealer from San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.
I found out that Guanzon went to the PNP-CITF headquarters in Camp Crame to file a complaint against the suspect whom he claimed was demanding P6,000 from him as ‘protection money.’ When he was arrested, Ureta yielded the P6,000 in marked bills, the complainant’s dri-ver’s license and hold your breath, cash amounting to P306,000.
Where in the world did Guanzon get that big amount of money? He and his superiors really have lots of things to explain. The entrapment operation was launched in the wake of the ongoing stepped-up campaign against mulcting law enforcers by the PNP-CITF. I learned that the PNP-CITF has been receiving numerous complaints about the presence of Manila traffic personnel and parking aides involved in irregularities specifically extortion in the city.
Reports said that rogue traffic personnel in the city have been collecting weekly or monthly ‘grease money’ from drivers and operators of vegetable, rice and other delivery trucks passing thru Manila apart from protecting illegal parking terminals. These are all subject of an ongoing PNP-CITF investigation.
Last January 24, PNP-CITF agents, in coordination with Southern Police District director, Chief Supt. Ely Cruz also arrested the deputy commander of the Police-Community Precinct 9 of the Makati City Police Station for robbery-extortion.
Senior Police Officer 4 Danilo Paghubasan, a resident of MB 9, BCDA, Barangay Ususan in Taguig City was accused of preying on poor ‘habal-habal’ drivers in his community and threatening them with arrest if they won’t come across his monetary demands. The suspect was arrested right after he received P15,000 in marked money from a complainant.
According to Caramat, a ‘habal-habal’ driver from Bgy. Ususan identified as Arman Lucero complained to their office that SPO4 Paghubasan demanded from him P15,000 as alleged ‘membership fee’ in their illegal terminal. The complainant said that he was told by the cop that he will not be allowed to pick up passengers in the area unless he pays the required ‘membership fee.’
Caramat said that during investigation, they discovered that SPO4 Paghubasan has been collecting P150 daily from at least 40 ‘habal-habal’ drivers or P6,000 a day in the same area while warning that those who will fail to pay him will be apprehended by his cohorts from the Taguig City PCP 8 as soon as they travel along C-5 Road in Palar Village, Taguig City.
My friend, NCRPO chief, Director Gilor Eleazar ordered the relief and investigation of SPO4 Paghubasan’s immediate superior amid findings that the arrested cop was not reporting for regular duty and instead has been concentrating on his daily ‘collection’ activity.
Days before Paghubasan was arrested, , the PNP-CITF also arrested a Taguig City Police precinct commander and one of his men accused of robbery-extortion following an entrapment right inside their office. Chief Inspector Paul Bryan Torres, the head of the Taguig City Precinct 6 and his man, Police Officer 1 Ariel Intenal were arrested shortly after Intenal received P59,000 in marked money from the complainant in the presence of his superior.
The money was demanded from the sister of a suspected drug offender arrested by the Taguig City policemen. It turned out that she was told that if she gives the money, the drug case to be filed against her brother would be downgraded to a simple drug possession that would allow him to post bail.
These rogues in uniform found themselves in jail and are now facing criminal and administrative charges that may lead to their dismissal from the police service once they are found guilty of the offense imputed on them. Already, they and their families have been embarrassed by their arrest. In the case of SPO4 Paghubasan who is on the verge of retirement, his retirement pay and other benefits may possibly be gone. What a pity.