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Thursday, February 29, 2024

CIDG official out of his mind?

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I personally know quite a few good men in the ranks of the Philippine National Police, officers and gentlemen whose brilliance and professionalism make the PNP a truly world-class law enforcement organization.

There are times, however, when we come across or hear about some police officers who exhibit the flip side of brilliance and professionalism.

A case in point is this incident encountered by two camera operators or videographers for an online sports program. They were allegedly illegally detained on orders of a local Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) official, and then slapped with trumped-up charges.

The two sports videographers called me up in the middle of the night asking for help. They asked that their names be withheld.

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They claim they were setting up their camera for the field coverage of a derby at Tabora Cockpit Arena in Tuba, Baguio City last Friday afternoon.

The said  crew members of GenX Sports Inc., an outfit engaged with live streaming to subscribers  abroad of various local games and sports events, alleged they were accosted and readily handcuffed for no clear reason nor provocation on their part.

They were reportedly hauled, along with their outside broadcast van, to a  Baguio City CIDG station and ordered detained by the station commander P/Supt. Cezar Paday-os without proper booking on any offense for 12 hours.

Neither Colonel Paday-os nor his men could not justify the videographers' arrest until they were cited for “illegal gambling.” 

The apprehended tandem vehemently denied engaging in “illegal gambling” as they were merely installing their camera, connected to their transmitter in their OB van just outside the cockpit complex with the proper permits from the local government unit and even with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).

In the first place, the cockfighting event in the popular venue must be legal, so the grounds and motive of their arrest appears irregular and questionable, as far as standard PNP procedures are concerned. 

What appeared to be an illegal arrest even took a bizarre turn when the police official told them to “have a hefty amount of money ready so they can post bail” or they would have to stay overnight behind bars.

Why, is he an Inquest Fiscal who determines whether the apprehension justified detention and bail recommendation? 

Something smells fishy in the disposition of Colonel Paday-os, who either intended to extort money or was simply incompetent and incapable to properly dispense authority.

We tried to contact and get Paday-os' (or his men’s) side of the story to no avail. But they are welcome anytime to explain their version of what actually transpired.

We would not like to think that what we thought is an elite CIDG team nestled in the pine trees of the country’s summer capital is actually yet another bunch of bad eggs.

Perhaps, CIDG Chief Director Amador Corpus needs to remind Col. Paday-os to go after big-time illegal gambling lords instead of innocent people like cameramen at work. 

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