Abra solon victim of police harassment

"Every cop must know the rules by heart."


Was Philippine National Police spokesman P/Col. Bernard Banac  serious when he said that PNP personnel must remain "neutral" and “apolitical” in this coming election?

That means policemen are prohibited from serving as goons for candidates in the coming May 13 mid-term national and local elections. Every PNP personnel must know that rule by heart.

However, Abra Congressman Joseph Sto. Niño “JB” Bernos, along with his family and supporters, are apprehensive about the presence of a large number of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) personnel outside his home “watching closely every movement” of the Bernos camp.

Reelectionist Bernos (PDP-Laban) happens to be up against the Victoria Seares Corpus (PDDS), the wife of CIDG chief Police General Amador Corpuz for the lone representative of the province in the House of Representatives.

Bernos told the media that the group has set up police checkpoints near his residence, stopping and questioning everyone coming in and out of the house.

They describe the police activities as “harassment,” traumatizing the congressman’s children who see a dozen of CIDG armed to the teeth, manning the checkpoint and looking into their home every day.

It’s a shame that the vice chairman of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety and his family would feel harassed by the CIDG men under General Corpuz, whom I know as an upright officer and a gentleman.

Imagine how these cops could intimidate and harass a ranking government official of the land, just like that,  without getting into trouble. I could not imagine what they will do to "barrio folks" in the remote areas.

The CIDG chief himself must come clean with an explanation to straighten out this possible election violation.

If he fails to do so, then this complaint should be looked into either by the PNP Internal Affairs Service, PNP Chief Director-General Oscar Albayalde, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año or the Commission on Elections.

The Comelec is the sole authority that can direct the PNP to deploy police troops in political hotspots during the election period. Besides, Abra is no longer considered a hotspot. It was downgraded as an "area of concern" after the peaceful and orderly election in 2016.

Bernos confirmed to me the presence of CIDG men near his house day and night when they should be working on criminal cases someplace else.

The young lawmaker, a staunch supporter of President Duterte’s program of reforms, urged the Corpuzes to do away with “dirty politics of the old and harassment" and help Abra to have a clean and peaceful election.

I tried to reach Gen. Corpuz for his side of the story but he has been unavailable so far.

Topics: Erwin Tulfo , Philippine National Police , PNP , P/Col. Bernard Banac , police harassment , mid-term national and local elections
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