Police “abuses”

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Sunday, February 16, 2014


A RESIDENT of Dalaguete, who asked not be named for fear of reprisal, sought my assistance in calling the attention of the police hierarchy to investigate a shooting incident in a mountain barangay in the town that involved a habal-habal driver and members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB).

The letter-writer who claims to be a relative of the victim, 28-year-old Jeffrey Canada, a resident of the southern town, said Jeffrey was ferrying three passengers, two of whom are minors, from the poblacion to the mountain barangay last Feb. 10.

Members of the RPSB, who were conducting a checkpoint in the barangay stopped Jeffrey.

But he was not able to stop his motorcycle immediately because the road is a slope.

Without any apparent reason, the policemen fired at him and his passengers. Jeffrey was seriously wounded as he was hit in the stomach and shoulder. One of the bullets pierced his jaw. The letter-writer attached a picture of Jeffrey showing his seriously-battered jaw. His passengers were also wounded.

According to the police report, the policemen recovered a firearm and drugs believed to be shabu from the victims. The letter-writer claimed that her cousin was not into drugs and never carried a firearm. He is a simple habal-habal driver earning an honest living, she said.

Jeffrey is now recuperating at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. He is being closely guarded by policemen after he was charged with illegal possession of firearm and illegal drugs.

I’m just taking this issue at face value because I don’t really know the real score.

Maybe the policemen involved have their own version of the incident. Due to the time constraint, I failed to get the reaction of RPSB chief Clifford Gairanod.

Nevertheless, I am appealing to the PNP hierarchy in the region to seriously look into the matter in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice.

There could have been operational lapses committed by policemen manning the checkpoint.

This issue is very common and we’ve heard a lot of stories of law enforcers committing abuses like fatally shooting people who fail to stop at checkpoints or who try to evade them. And to justify the shooting, policemen will plant evidence like firearms and drugs to make it appear the shootout was legitimate. This police theory is an old script but it’s still being used by law enforcers to justify their action.

Just recently, an alleged member of the Akyat Bahay gang was shot dead by policemen on the river along Gen. Maxilom Ave.

Police claimed it was a legitimate operation because the victim fired at them during the chase.

I understand the RPSB is under the Police Regional Office. Gen. Danilo Constantino, sir. Paki-imbestigar sa isyong ito.

***

Talking of the police organization, if allegations against PO2 Ronilo Manuel are proven true, I think the PNP leadership should throw the book at him. He should be kicked out from the organization because he is a scalawag.

A victim of a hold-up on R. Landon St. last week pointed to Manuel as one of the suspects. The other suspect was identified as Benito Abear, who is reportedly the policeman’s accomplice.

Manuel has been declared Awol (absent without official leave) and he also reportedly pawned his government-issued firearm. Kolokoy gyud ning pulisa.

When his face was flashed on TV and appeared in the newspapers, several hold-up victims came forward, including a taxi driver who said Manuel robbed him in Talamban.

These victims have no personal motive to tag the policeman if he was not the culprit. Judging by his character, I think this rookie cop is into drugs.

A policeman is supposed to protect us from criminal elements, not victimize us. Only in the Philippines.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2014.

Opinion

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