FOUR of the eight police officers involved in the EDSA kidnap and robbery early this month are also members of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines that is at present led by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisma, a senior member of the fraternal organization said on Monday.
He identified two of the four policemen as Chief Inspector Joseph de Vera, the deputy commander of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 1 based in La Loma in the city, and Senior Insp. Oliver Villanueva, head of the investigation and intelligence unit.
The source said de Vera and Villanueva are active members of the masonry and were raised or accepted as master mason in 2011.
As for the other two police officers, the source said he is yet to get additional information on them.
De Vera, Villanueva and several policemen who took part in the EDSA incident are facing charges of robbery, serious illegal detention and kidnapping.
But anti-crime advocates raised serious concern over the supposed “masonic” connection of the police officers and the PNP chief, particularly the possibility that Purisima may use his position to save his kuyang.
Kuyang is the term used by masons to address fellow masons.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said they cannot discount the possibility of Purisima saving his fellow masons, thus the need to keep a watchful eye on the case of the police officers.
Purisima is the current Grand Master of the masons in the Philippines. He will step down in April next year and will be replaced by the organization’s deputy Grand Master Tomas Rentoy 3rd, a retired police officer, who is also facing graft charges at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the “Euro Generals” controversy in 2008.
The incident involved a group of PNP officials who flew to Russia to attend an Interpol assembly in Saint Petersburg. They were held at the airport after they were found carrying huge amounts of money.
But a senior member of the fraternal organization said their group does not intervene in legal processes even if those involved are their brothers.
“We don’t tolerate these kinds of action of our members, we are very strict when it comes to moral issues,” he added.
The senior member disclosed that incidents involving members of the masonry are now causing great concern within the organization and have even prompted other members to call for a cleansing of their ranks.
According to the source, some members of their group have called for the expulsion of masons facing criminal complaints even if their guilt is yet to be proved in court.
“It has been one of topics we discussed during our recent convention in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and some of us are really pushing for a serious cleansing of the members,” the source said.