MANILA, Philippines - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome ordered yesterday the relief of 20 policemen, including five senior officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), for their alleged link to a series of irregularities and illegal activities.
The relieved officers include Senior Superintendent Rhodel Sermonia; Superintendent Honorio Agnila, CIDG-Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division officer-in-charge; Chief Inspector Renato Ocampo; Chief Inspector Ruben Lacuesta, Southern Metro Manila Criminal Investigation and Detection Team chief; and Chief Inspector Bienvenido Reydado.
Bartolome said he ordered the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) “to throw the book at these deviant police officers. But first, they must be removed from the environment where they committed the alleged infraction in order for them not to unduly influence the investigation.”
He said they will make sure that due process “will work to the advantage of the police service and will not be used as a convenient excuse for these deviants to circumvent the law and PNP policy on internal discipline. The law shall prevail.”
CIDG chief Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr., the immediate superior of the relieved officers, expressed support for Bartolome’s order to have them undergo a pre-charge investigation. “This is not to say though that those relieved are already guilty but that they are given all the opportunity to clear themselves,” he said.
Pagdilao said all five are being investigated by the CIDG’s internal disciplinary machinery in accordance with established National Police Commission policies.
Bartolome instructed Director Elpidio de Asis, chief of the PNP-Directorate for Personnel and Records Management, to reassign the officers to the PNP Holding and Administrative Unit to ensure their availability to face further investigation.
In a statement, Bartolome said Sermonia is the subject of a complaint lodged by LPG Marketer’s Association party-list Rep. Arnel Ty for alleged obstruction of justice, unjust vexation, and violation of Republic Act 6713 or the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees.
Agnila and his men are the subjects of a complaint for alleged robbery-extortion and abduction of a Singaporean investor and two Taiwanese businessmen last Dec. 16, Bartolome said.
Last Jan. 11, Pagdilao relieved Agnila but about two months later, or last March 15, designated him as chief of the CIDG’s Operations Management Division. Pagdilao, however, clarified Agnila’s group committed lapses in the case of Singaporean Ah Chai Teo last Dec. 16.
Lacuesta and his men are being investigated for alleged infidelity in the custody of prisoners over the escape of Korean fugitive Kom Sung.
Bartolome also ordered the relief of five more CIDG officers in Region 8 who were eventually reassigned to PHAU over reports of their alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade in Ormoc City. - By Cecille Suerte Felipe