AN OFFICIAL of the National Police Commission (Napolcom)-Northern Mindanao said the soldiers who are allegedly beaten by members of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon police are welcome to press administrative charges against the policemen before the commission.
Lawyer Robert Lou Elango, chairman of the Police Regional Appellate Board of Napolcom-Northern Mindanao, said Private First Class Brian Anco and Private First Class Armand Gentiles should retract first their affidavit of desistance against Police Officer 2 Mark Torregosa and Police Officer 1 Laurence Macalos.
"Pwede sila mag-file sa Napolcom magpaabot lang mi but 1st step is i-retract sa nila ang affidavit of desistance kay amo man gimonitor ang progress sa hitabo (They can file [charges] in Napolcom, we can wait but the first step is to retract the affidavit of desistance becayse we will have to monitor the progress of the incident)," Elango said.
Elango said they are interested in seeing the full video, if any such recording exists, of the whole September 19 incident inside a public bus where the involved policemen responded to a call for assistance which led to the beating of the soldiers.
The soldiers were reportedly drunk and were supposedly unruly and disturbing other passengers.
The a video of a man punching one of the soldiers has gone viral.
"Bisan pa og nakainom og wala gyud gibuhat nga untoward actions pero mao lagi tan-awon sa nato ang full video. Ila tong i-submit as evidence para atong matan-awan (Regardless if they are drunk, they did not do any untoward actions but we really habe to see the full video. They [soldiers] will have to submit it for evidence.)," Elango said.
Elango said the soldiers could possibly file administrative charges for serious irregularity in the performance of duty against the policemen.
He explained that if the policemen are found guilty, they may likely face dismissal from police service, demotion or six months suspension.
He also said Napolcom would look into the arrest procedure and the rules of engagement employed by the responding policemen.
"Kung ang pagdakop is legitimate unya nasagolan og dili maayo pwede ma-filan og irregularity in the performance of duty kung grabe ang extent sa violation mao nang serious (If the arrest was legitimate but was mixed with unlawful actions they can file an irregularity in performance of duty, especially if it was to the extent of serious violation)," Elango said.
Elango said they would also check if the policemen had the opportunity to prevent civilians from meddling during the arrest.
For his part, Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, spokesperson of Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao, said Camp Alagar considers the case closed when the two parties amicably settled the day after the incident.
"Na-resolve at case close na yan. Ang mga police ang nag-complain for direct assault, unruly ang mga sundalo nakiusap yung mga army kaya inatras ng PNP (Philippine National Police) ang kaso kaya may amicable settlement (It was resolved and closed. The police complained for direct assault, the soldiers were unruly that’s why the PNP dropped the case for amicable settlement)," Gonda said.
Gonda said the police is also hunting the alleged civilian who attack and hit the soldier on the face for case filing.
"We do not entertain speculations of the situation. Police are on factual situation of the incident. In court proceedings, its evidence-based and the video is not the whole evidence," Gonda said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 27, 2017.