The commander of the Taguig Police Community Precinct (PCP) and six barangay (village) officials were arrested in an entrapment operation launched by the police in Taguig City on Monday.
The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF), a unit that oversees erring policemen, conducted entrapment operations on Saturday afternoon following complaints that the police commander had been extorting money from the families of civilians detained for their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
Those arrested were Chief Inspector Cesar Espejo, the Taguig PCP commander, Reggie Adrales, Bobby Terejo, Rolly Barcelo, Antonio Bonita, Antonio Bag-ao and Stephanie Villanueva, officials of Barangay West Bicutan.
On Saturday, a complaint was received by the Southern Police District (SPD) that a truck driver under detention for a drug case was being asked to pay P30,000 in exchange for his release.
Senior Supt. Chiquito Malayo, PNP-CITF chief, said his unit has received complaints against Espejo since February this year.
“[The text message] goes through a process, we acquired evidences and we operated because of the evidence on hand,” he told reporters during a press conference in Camp Crame.
The wife of the truck driver who was detained by Espejo claimed that the police officer demanded P30,000 for her husband’s release.
“He (Espejo) took the P5,000 and gave it to a certain ‘big boy’ and the remaining P25,000 for the boys,” PNP chief Ronald de la Rosa told reporters.
Police confiscated from the police officer the marked money, a .38 revolver, a .45 pistol and a 9mm pistol.
Malayo said the suspects have been milking money from the relatives of individuals arrested for their alleged drug use.
“On the intelligence report we are verifying, [the suspects]are only after the money and coincidentally, the accusation [against these suspects]was substantiated because of the [entrapment]operations and because of the complaints of the victims’ wives,” he said.
De la Rosa assured the public that once complaints against erring policemen reach the CITF, these will be acted upon.
“Action will be taken but it will take time, [the erring cops]will not face cases immediately because maybe [the complaint]is just pure hearsay, it will be bad for the police, so to be fair, we have to validate it,” he said.