Police recruitment scam

October 01, 2019

ARMM’s No. 22 axed.

THE Philippine National Police leadership has ordered the administrative relief of the no. 2 official of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office in connection with a reported recruitment scam where BARMM police applicants are allegedly being asked to cough up money to pass their neuro-psychological examination, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

BARMM Deputy Regional Director for Administration, Brig. Gen. Madid M. Paitao was transferred to the PNP Personnel Holding and Administrative Unit in Camp Crame pending the completion of the ongoing investigation into complaints made by over 10 BARMM police applicants.  

Paitao could not be immediately contacted for comment on the matter.

The complainants have issued formal affidavits detailing their complaints and identified a number of BARMM personnel working under Paitao who is in-charge of the BARMM police recruitment program, the Journal Group was told.

The BARMM police is hiring at least 600 police recruits this year to be assigned in the cities of Marawi and Lamitan and the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

BARMM police regional director, Brig. Gen. Marni C. Marcos confirmed that relief orders have been issued on Paitao. BARMM Deputy Regional Director for Operations, Colonel Patrick T. Villacorte was designated as DRDA Officer-in-Charge of the BARMM police.

The relief of Paitao came as the BARMM police leadership ensured that only the ‘best and the brightest’ police applicants will be able to join the regional police force after passing a strict recruitment program.

PNP chief, General Oscar D. Albayalde, has directed all 17 police regional offices to ensure a strict and comprehensive background investigation and repeated neuro-psychological tests for their applicants.

Gen. Albayalde had made it clear that ‘only those who are truly qualified will be allowed to undergo rigid police training’ and made the assurance that under his leadership, there will be ‘no more padrino system’  and corruption in the PNP recruitment scheme.

The PNP chief has ordered police regional units to publish the names of applicants in local newspapers and the social media to help the police determine the qualification of applicants.

Presence of some rogue police personnel demanding money from PNP applicants to pass their neuro-psychological examination has been evident in the force lately. Last July, agents of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group headed by Col. Romeo C. Caramat Jr. arrested a member of the PNP Health Service in General Santos City for asking P50,000 from a female police applicant in exchange for her passing neuro-psycho test.

There have been complaints too that some police recruitment officers are demanding as much as P120,000 to P150,000 from some applicants with a promise they will pass the strict screening and qualify to be a member of the force.

Similar recruitment scandals have rocked the ARMM police force in the past involving some of its top officers and men. There were previous reports that some rogue ARMM police officials in the past were demanding P1 million per three police recruits who are under the employ of local politicians.

In June 2013, at least four persons including an employee of the ARMM regional office were charged before the City Prosecutor’s Office in Cotabato City for suspected involvement in a police recruitment scam.
The charges were backed by statements from at least a dozen applicants with ages ranging from 18 to 23 who claimed they were each required to pay P50,000 for “limited training slots” in the police service.

The respondents claimed they had access to the police recruitment system and could successfully make one a policeman if the fees were paid.

A recruit said that one of the accused claimed to have ‘connections’ with the National Police Commission to help them enter the police service for P50,000 to P65,000 each. The money supposedly would cover expenses for uniforms and oath-taking fees.