Operatives of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR) are not yet off the hook despite the retraction of extortion charges against them.
Meanwhile, elements of the PNP’s -Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) confiscated over P7.8 million worth of illegal drugs during a series of raids conducted March 13 to 19.
PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, in an interview with reporters at the Department of Justice, hinted that the CIDG agents could still be held administratively liable.
Azurin said they still have to validate and study the affidavit of retraction issued by a group of Chinese nationals who were arrested earlier by the CIDG-NCR in Paranaque City for alleged illegal gambling..
“Whether it was done voluntarily or under duress, there is investigation being conducted by the IAS (Internal Affairs Service), we will know the summary of the truth on that affidavit of desistance or denial. What is clear there is there is an operation of the CIDG-NCR, there was an arrest made and we have to determine criminal and administrative liability,” Azurin said.
“They (Chinese nationals) have to confirm what they have signed and submitted. Why is there such a report that something was lost and was returned and suddenly, the story was reversed,” he added.
In their sworn affidavit dated March 16, the Chinese belied reports that the CIDG-NCR personnel extorted money from them.
“Aside from the pieces of evidence they have recovered during their operation, the CIDG-NCR never took money or any personal belongings from the undersigned,” a portion of the affidavit stated.
The group, identified as Lin Andan, Yi Aile, Li Meiyi, Xiao Yan, Nian Xian, Zhang Fui, Jimmy Jutang, Wu Wei Long, Niu Howy, Lei Wen, A Shui, Peng Jun and Ki Kin, asserted that that they were immediate released from detention following their arrest.
However, the office of the PNP deputy chief for administration headed by Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia advised the foreigners to file a complaint against the CIDG-NCR personnel.
Claiming that no irregularity was committed against them, the group ignored Sermonia’s suggestion, saying they have no intention to do so. CIDG-NCR chief Col. Hansel Marantan and 12 of his men were relieved from their posts amid allegations that they took expensive watches and other personal belongings from the Chinese group.
Azurin, meanwhile, said while the Chinese nationals may not file criminal charges against the involved personnel, he said the police force should determine the culpability of the involved officers with regard to violation of police operational procedures.
“Definitely, there was an operation that was conducted and how come there were no inquest proceedings that were made. They were arrested and their case is inquestable,” he said.
In a statement, Marantan said he and his officers were willing to face their accusers anytime to clear their names.
“I maintain that I and my men are ready and willing to undergo an impartial investigation into the matter, and we trust in the wisdom of the PNP command,” Marantan said in a statement.
“If there are erring policemen by all means, we punish them, including me. The quick and just resolution of this matter would not only benefit us, but our families who have been exposed to unjust ridicule because of these accusations,” he added.
Marantan said he has yet to receive a copy of the affidavit, but said he welcomes this development as part of the broader investigation of the incident.
CIDG chief Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. ordered the relief of Marantan, two other officers and 10 police non-commissioned officers from their post over the incident.
Caramat, however, clarified that the relief of Marantan was based on the concept of command responsibility since those involved were his officers.
In a statement Monday, PDEG chief, Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, committed to sustain all-out operations nationwide as the PDEG conducted 70 operations, comprising of buy-busts and serving arrest warrants and search warrants, resulting in the arrest of 103 suspects.
Domingo said the operations also led to the seizure of 1,151 grams of shabu and marijuana leaves, with an estimated street value of P7,832,600.
Domingo said the PDEG strives to restore its integrity in conducting transparent and lawful anti-illegal drug operations, particularly on supply reduction.
“With this number of operations, noteworthy to mention that there were no reports of death or any armed encounter in all operations conducted by this Unit. This only shows that PDEG is conducting a fair, comprehensive, and balanced anti-illegal drugs strategy. Thus, it includes suppressing the flow of illegal drugs supply through sustained law enforcement operations and reducing consumer demand for drugs and other substances through drug rehabilitation and massive preventive education and awareness programs,” Domingo said.