Bacalzo’s touch challenge

WHEN newly appointed Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Raul Bacalzo assumed his post a week ago, he knew that he was inheriting a rather disorganized and a tattered police organization.

Not that his predecessor, former PNP Chief Jesus Versoza has been remised with his duties nor lenient with his policies, it is just that there are indeed some rotten eggs who seem to be enjoying themselves in sending down the image of the police force in a dizzying downward spiral.

Bacalzo therefore faces the tough twin challenge of winning back the trust and confidence of the citizenry and in restoring the sagging image of the police organization.

It did not help that a few weeks before Bacalzo took over the helm of the PNP, the organization was rocked with a series of controversies such as the torture video of a robbery suspect inside the Asuncion police station allegedly perpetrated by a group of cops led by Senior Insp. Joselito Binayug.

Still reeling from that controversy, the entire PNP was again placed in the eye of a storm when Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza took hostage a bus full of Hong Kong tourists that ended after more than 12 hours of drama resulting to the untimely death of eight foreigners and the hostage taker.

But it seems like some would never learn a lesson arising from such incidents because the experiences failed to stop a group of cops from further hurting the image of their organization.

This after a truck driver and his helper filed a case of arbitrary detention and robbery filed against a ranking official of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and some of his men.

The victims Rolando Flores, driver and Jhannery Hupa , employees of the Golden Horse Trucking Services in Navotas city identified suspects as Police Senior Supt. Pedro Cabatingan and his men identified as SPO1 Manuel Arizala, SPO3 Joel Borda, PO1 Elmer Ocampo and PO1 Fernando Reyes all assigned at the PNP CIDG- National Capital Region (NCR).

In their complaint, the victims claimed that sometime last August 10, they were ordered by their superiors to pick up scrap materials from Neptune Metal Scrap Recycling located at C5 Avenue , Caloocan city.

Using a trailer truck with plate number RHA-494, they picked-up the materials and were ordered to deliver them to the port.

When they reached Letre Road Corner C4 avenue in Malabon city on their way to the pier, they were blocked by a group of armed men on board two vehicles, colored red and green cars.

Without telling them of their supposed violation, the suspects who introduced themselves as CIDG operatives forcibly ordered them to drive the delivery van going towards the direction of Camp Crame .

With guns poking on their heads, the victims could not do anything but to follow the instructions of the suspects. Along the way, the suspects allegedly with orders from Senior Supt. Cabatingan had subjected them from various forms of verbal threats and physical assaults.

The cops allegedly kept on asking them about the contents of a van while also instructing them to call their boss “so that their problems will be settled”.

Despite their protestations, the suspects locked them behind bars and were only charged with the fabricated case of transporting stolen Meralco power transmission line under RA 7832 (Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Power Transmission Lines) after three days which is way beyond the allowed period of 36 hours.

The victims are now seeking the help of Bacalzo to act on their complaints and to hand down appropriate sanctions against Cabatingan and his men.

The way things are going on in the PNP, Bacalzo should brace himself for tough times ahead. Bobby Ricohermoso

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