Napolcom monitors bribery case

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


THE National Police Commission (Napolcom) in Northern Mindanao is monitoring the progress of two of Cagayan de Oro City’s police officers who are facing charges of bribery.

Lawyer Robert Lou Elango, Napolcom-Northern Mindanao spokesman, said the agency is taking a back seat since the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) is conducting its own investigation on the alleged involvement of Superintendent John Michael Deloso and his aide Police Officer 3 Ernesto Galleto in a suspected bribery case.

Elango is also the chairman of Napolcom-Northern Mindanao’s Police Regional Appellate Board.

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He said it would be better for the Napolcom to just monitor the bribery case Deloso and Galleto are facing for now to avoid “forum shopping,” referring to the action of an aggrieved person to resort to various legal avenues seeking remedy for a wrongdoing committed.

Last week, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed formal charges against Deloso and Galleto before a local court.

For its part, the Cocpo has yet to issue a statement on its supposed filing of administrative case against the two police officers.

But whatever is the decision of the administrative complaint filed against Deloso and Galleto, the Napolcom can still play a role should the two accused make an appeal.

Not only can the Napolcom suspend, dismiss or demote an erring police officer, as Elango said it can also reverse an administrative ruling if it finds the gravity of the merits of the case worthy of overturning.

Napolcom’s power

In the case of Deloso and Galleto, Elango said if the Napolcom finds that the merits of the complaint are on their side or work against their favor, then the commission has the discretion to reverse the decision.

As the agency tasked to administer and control the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its personnel, the Napolcom, its official website says, has the power to “affirm, reverse or modify, through the National Appellate Board, personnel administrative actions involving the demotion or dismissal from the service imposed upon members of the [PNP] by the Chief of the [PNP].”

Aside from that, the Napolcom also exercises “appellate jurisdiction through the Regional Appellate Boards, over administrative cases against policemen and over decisions on claims for police benefits.”

The Regional Appellate Board has the specific function to decide or resolve with finality all cases on appeal from decisions of the People’s Law Enforcement Board (Pleb) and PNP regional directors when the penalty is forced resignation, demotion in rank or dismissal and those of mayors in cases falling within their respective jurisdictions.

In instances when the aggrieved person is not comfortable with bringing his complaint to a body composed of “men in uniform,” Elango said the best choice would be to go the Pleb, the body created by a local government unit at the provincial, town or city level.

Another venue for a complainant to air his formal complaint against a police officer would be the Regional Internal Affairs Service (Rias), a branch of the PNP.

In a previous interview, Superintendent Michael Pareja, PNP-Northern Mindanao spokesman, said Rias will handle the case against a police officer if the complainant is a civilian.

Not usual

But Elango said it is not usual for Napolcom-Northern Mindanao to handle bribery cases against police officers.

Usually, he said, the agency receives complaints against law enforcers for violation of Violence Against Women and Children, unpaid debts, and police officers making “wrongful” arrests.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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