A lawmaker on Thursday urged National Police Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar to assign female officers to lead all teams manning quarantine control checkpoints to put an end to male officers “sexually ambushing” girls and young women.
“We would highly recommend that all police checkpoints be manned by a team of mixed-gender officers led by a woman,” Surigao del Sur Rep.Johnny Pimentel, House strategic intelligence committee chairperson, said in a statement.
Pimentel made the suggestion in light of the Oct. 8 incident wherein a police officer was accused of raping a female motorcycle rider who was flagged down at a checkpoint in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
The rape suspect, Staff Sgt. Robin Manganga, has been since disarmed and is now under restrictive custody after his victim filed a complaint.
“Camp Crame has to put a stop to these horrible police abuses against helpless girls and young women,” Pimentel said, adding that “only female officers should be allowed to accost girls and young women at police checkpoints.”
“The PNP has enough female officers to lead checkpoint teams, considering that they now comprise 17 percent of the entire force,” Pimentel, also House good government and public accountability committee vice chairperson, said.
The Mabalacat incident was not the first reported case of male police officers sexually preying on girls and young women waylaid at checkpoints, or for curfew or quarantine violations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August this year, then Patrolman Elmer Tuazon Jr. was accused of raping a 19-year-old quarantine violator who was stopped at a checkpoint in Mariveles, Bataan.
In October last year, then Lt. Jimmy Fegcan, the deputy police chief of San Miguel, Bulacan, was accused of raping a 24-year-old woman who was apprehended for a curfew violation and for going out without a quarantine pass.
In June last year, then Staff Sergeants Randy Ramos and Marawi Torda were accused of raping a 15-year-old girl and her 18-year-old cousin who were both accosted for a curfew violation in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
The 15-year-old victim was later gunned down and killed by motorcycle-riding assailants while on her way home after following up on their complaint at the police station.
Pimentel has been pushing for the passage of House Bill 8689, which seeks to double to 20 percent the PNP’s annual officer recruitment quota reserved for female applicants.
Meanwhile, Pimentel said Congress has inserted a special provision in the 2022 national budget that mandates the PNP to give priority to the enlistment of female officers.
Under the special provision, “the PNP shall ensure that in the hiring of new patrol officers, priority shall be given to qualified female applicants to fill vacancies in the women and children protection desks” of police stations, according to Pimentel.