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Monday, February 26, 2024

27 Pasay cops sacked over POGO case

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The chief of police of Pasay City and 26 other police officers have been relieved from their posts amid an investigation into a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) in the city that was raided by authorities for human trafficking and other illegal activities last month.

Pasay City Police Director Colonel Froilan Uy, Substation Commander Capt. Criz Antonio Cataluña, and 25 police non-commissioned officers are facing an investigation for possible neglect of duty.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a press briefing in Camp Crame on Friday that Col. Mario Mayanes would replace Uy as Pasay chief of police, while replacing Cataluña would be Maj. Christel Carlo Villanueva.

“If this POGO has existed for a long time and there are illegal activities, remember, the PNP has a one-strike policy.

If something has been happening there within your knowledge and you did nothing, then you will be charged with neglect of duty,” Fajardo said.

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On Oct. 27, a task force led by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Department of Justice raided the POGO hub operating inside a six-story building along Williams Street in Pasay City.

Authorities discovered a nine-room KTV area, a pharmacy with a physician and two patient beds, a restaurant, a hotpot “shabu-shabu” area, and nine money vaults inside its premises.

The PAOCC earlier said there is an “abundance of evidence pointing to sex trafficking” on the site.

During the raid, two male Chinese workers, Shui Niu, 27, and Lu Hao Yu, 22, approached members of the raiding team and said they were being kept against their will and showed torture marks on their bodies.

Shiu Niu claimed to have been kidnapped and was sold five months ago for P500,000 from another POGO, while Lu Hao Yu said he was being held for more than a year and made to work 15-hour days.

About 731 workers, including seven Filipinas, were also rescued from an aquarium-style viewing chamber of a massage parlor on the building’s second floor. Joel Zurbano and Vince Lopez

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