SOME personnel of the Minglanilla Police Station will be investigated for allegedly arresting 80 persons in an illegal cockfight and forcing them to sign as drug surrenderers last Sunday afternoon, Christmas Day.
Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas of Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said they will investigate the report because wrong methods cannot be justified.
“We will not hesitate to impose sanctions. We don’t want to condone police personnel doing an illegal act in pursuit, allegedly, of doing their job. That is not right,” he said.
One of the persons rounded up by the police in Upper Linao, Minglanilla was the son of Mines and Geosciences Bureau Caraga Regional Director Roger de Dios, who met with Lawas yesterday morning.
De Dios said that his son, Revo, was selling softdrinks, cigarettes and food items in front of their house during the cockfight when the police raided the place.
No representative from the barangay was present during the operation, which was caught by a closed-circuit television camera. This took place at 4 p.m. last Christmas Day in Sitio Upper Linao, Barangay Linao-Lipata.
The operation was allegedly not recorded in the blotter. Motorcycle drivers, sellers, and persons who were just eating were also reportedly arrested.
De Dios identified the police team’s leader as Chief Insp. Florendo Fajardo.
But Fajardo, in a separate interview, denied the allegations and said he plans to counter the charges against him and his men if an investigation will be conducted.
He said that the police team never forced Revo and his companions to sign the document.
Fajardo explained that it was part of their policy to ask suspects under Oplan Double Barrel Alpha to sign a document to determine if they have been under the influence of drugs, whether at present or before.
He said that the operation was based on a concerned citizen’s report about the allegedly rampant presence of illegal gambling and drugs in the area. Fajardo also alleged that Revo and his family own the property were the illegal cockfight was held.
The police officer said, however, that he and his men were willing to submit themselves to an investigation.
Police, de Dios added, wrote that Revo started using illegal drugs at 16. They also made him choose which drug he preferred to be listed in his profile as a supposed Oplan Tokhang surrenderer.
“Marijuana ang gipili (Marijuana was picked),” said de Dios.
Police also confiscated the bets and placed the roosters in three sacks. Those caught were released hours later.
The operatives turned over 43 persons to the Talisay City Police Station because they are residents of that city.
De Dios said that if the police intend to file criminal complaints, those should be for illegal gambling and not any drug-related charge.
The government official said he talked with SPO4 Harry Anor, who assured him that the records of the surrenderers are treated confidentially and that the police made them sign the waivers so they can beat the quota for arrests set by their superiors.
De Dios said he recorded the conversation on his cell phone.
He further said he does not want to intervene because he might be charged with obstruction of justice, but he was prompted to go public because something was wrong with the police raid.
“Ang proseso dili gyod maayo. Akong giingnan didto nga ang proseso ninyo, naa man ta sa gobiyerno, di ba naa may nakuha nga ebidensiya gikan sa akong bata? Kon mapriso na, priso na. Di ko molaban (The process was not good. I told them, as a fellow government worker, that they should present what evidence they gathered from my son. If he has to go to jail, then he’ll go to jail. I will not protect him),” said de Dios.
Lawas, the deputy regional director for operations, said he has arranged for a meeting between the complainants and the personnel of Minglanilla Police Station today.
“Yes, we have a target set for us to accomplish at the end of a certain period, but it is not part of our order nga mobuhat ka og sayop (for the officers to do anything illegal),” he said.
De Dios said he was unable to prevent the police from bringing Revo because he and his wife were not around.
Revo decided not to resist the police because he was afraid of them, he added.
“Nada gyod akong bata kay siyempre pulis god kuno, unya nagda pag gulat. Giingnan pa nila, ‘Wa’y mopalag ha. Kay kon naa’y mopalag hutdon mo. Di maayo,’” said de Dios. (Of course they got my son because they are police officers and they surprised everyone. They reportedly told the people, ‘Do not resist. If anyone resists, we’ll finish all of you. That’s not good.’)
De Dios said that Revo was a Sangguniang Kabataan official before but also described his son as “bugoy-bugoy” or capable of mischief.
De Dios, however, said he is afraid someone might shoot his son and plant a sachet of shabu on him. He said that he will file complaints against the police so the records against his son and other persons would be withdrawn.
“Motabang ko sa mga biktima. Dili ta gusto nga naa’y PNP nga mag-abuso kay makadaot na sa gobiyerno (I will help the victims. We don’t want any abusive PNP officers because that’s going to give the government a bad name),” said de Dios.
Upon hearing about the arrest, de Dios said, he immediately went to the police station. He was confronted by SPO4 Harry Anor, one of the senior police officers in the station.
Anor reportedly told de Dios that the document signed by his son and the others was just to help pad the station’s reported number of drug surrenderers, to meet a target set by the PNP’s higher headquarters.
But when de Dios asked Anor to provide him the document that his son signed, the police official reportedly refused to give it due to “confidential reasons.”