Police general, colonel detained in House of Representatives

Police general, colonel detained in House of Representatives
Screenshot from House of Representatives video

TWO police officials were detained after being cited in contempt by the House committee on public order and safety amid the investigation on the alleged irregularities in a police operation involving Chinese nationals in a condominium in Parañaque City in September 2023.

The policemen raided the condominium where the Chinese nationals were operating allegedly due to human trafficking and illegal possession of firearms charges.

House Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS Party-list Representative Erwin Tulfo moved to cite in contempt former Southern Police District chief Brigadier General Roderick Mariano and former SPD comptroller Colonel Charlie Cabradilla for allegedly repeatedly lying during the proceeding.

The motion that has placed the two police officials in detention at the House of Representatives premises for 30 days was approved by the committee chairman Santa Rosa City Representative Dan Fernandez without contention.

Tulfo said Mariano is a “disgrace” to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as he continuously refuses to tell the truth on the circumstances in relation to the operation, particularly on his knowledge over the recovery of P27 million in cold cash.

“Obvious na obvious na nagsisinungaling ka. Obvious na obvious na pinagtatakpan ka. Obvious po na pinipili ng mga tao mo sa ilalim, ayaw ka ituro,” Tulfo said.

(It's obvious that you're lying. It's obvious that you're being covered up. It's obvious that the people under you are not pointing at you.)

“You guys are all lying. Mr. Chairman, parang binabastos ho itong komite mo… Sir, let us cite these people in contempt. This investigation is not going anywhere, because they are really lying. May mga testigo na tayo, ayaw pa rin magsalita (We already have witnesses but they don’t want to talk),” he added.

Mariano was grilled by lawmakers over the delay in the reporting of the recovery of such huge amount of money. Only P4.6 million was initially reported.

Mariano said he was not immediately made aware of the recovery of the P27 million.

“Alam mo (You know what) General Mariano, it doesn’t make sense. First, Colonel Cabradilla said he knew that P27 million already. Now he is making reasons because he is in a bind, so he said he does not know if it was mentioned during the conference. But a while ago, I asked when he knew about it, he said September 17 lunch time,” Fernandez said.

“Then now you (Cabradilla) would say that you are not sure because the P27 million figure was mentioned in the conference. So now, General Mariano is claiming that Colonel Guevarra did not mention the true value (which is) P27 million. But in accordance with what you have said a while ago, you already knew that it was P27 million, so you said General Mariano should already be aware. But General Mariano is trying to insist right now that Colonel Guevarra did not mention it. And prudence dictates you are all in trouble already,” he added.

Fernandez was referring to Lieutenant Colonel Jolet Guevarra, the head of the Southern Police District-District Special Operations Unit (DSOU), which led the operation.

Tulfo expressed strong belief that the operation was motivated by money considering that the targets were connected to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogo).

“Actually, mister chair, malinaw pa sa sikat ng araw, nilakad nila inoperate nila number 1 mga taga Pogo yon, so maraming pera. Number 2, alam nila pag mga Chinese, areglo lalo na pag mga Chinese national. Number 3, alam nila takot na takot itong mga Chinese national na ito kaya mag-aareglo, so kakasuhan natin, aareguluhin tayo, ganun naman po eh,” he said.

(Actually, mister chair, it’s clear that they operate on this because first, those people are from Pogo, so they have a lot of money. Second, they know that they were Chinese, who want to settle the case. Third, they know that these Chinese nationals are so scared, so they will settle the case.)

“Kaya nga ‘yung lakad na yun (hitting) two birds with one stone may accomplishment tayo may nahuli tayong baril, human trafficking. Number 2, aareglo ito. Eh mas malaki pala ang nadatnan nila na pera doon…P27 million, ‘yung areglo, P4 million kaya dito na lang tayo. They thought all the while na hindi makakarating sa otoridad ‘yung ginawa nila sa mga Chinese,” he added.

(That operation was hitting two birds with one stone. We have an accomplishment, we seized firearms, there’s human trafficking. Second, the accused will opt for settlement. They will get more money here…P27 million, so let’s do this operation. They thought all the while that the authorities will not know what they did to the Chinese nationals.)

The committee also extended from 15 to 30 days the detention of other police officers involved in the operation, namely, Lieutenant Colonel Jolet Guevara, Major Jason Quijana, Major John Patrick Magsalos and Staff Sergeants Roy Pioquinto, Mark Democrito and Danilo Desder.

The panel launched the investigation upon the request of Antipolo City Second District Representative Romeo Acop over reports of the unlawful arrest of four Chinese nationals by the police in the guise of a search warrant for illegal possession of firearms in Paranaque City on September 16, 2023, and that P2 million was allegedly requested from each of the arrested suspects to “settle” the case.

Acop said the four Chinese women were brought in a condominium unit and were detained for several hours without being informed of their alleged offense and Miranda rights and were deprived of contact with their legal representation.

A total of 44 policemen were involved in the operation and 34 of them were already undergoing summary dismissal proceedings according to National Capital Region Police Office Director Major General Jose Melencio Nartatez. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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