The eight heavily armed policemen who allegedly abducted two men on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) recently are a product of poor screening of its ranks by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Retired PNP chief superintendent and now Rep. Romeo Acop of Antipolo City and Arsenio Evangelista of the non-government Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) made the pronouncement during Wednesday’s probe by House Committee on Public Order and Safety of the alleged EDSA kidnapping.
The eight policemen are Chief Insp. Joseph de Vera, Senior Insp. Oliver Villanueva, Senior Police Officer 1 Ramil Hachero and Police Officers 2 Weavin Masa, Mark de Paz, Jerome Datinguinoo, Ebonn Decatoria and Jonathan Rodriguez.
“You have intelligence fund, including counter-intelligence fund. You can just go to the casinos and you’ll find policemen gambling there. Go to the nice night clubs and you’ll see policemen there. Go to a [cock-fighting] derby and you’ll find policemen there who are into cockfighting. Their lifestyle would already show that they are spending more than they are supposed to receive from their salary. That is what counter-intelligence is for,” Acop said.
“You have the [intelligence]fund. Put that to good use,” he added.
Police Officer Abelardo Pacis Villacorta disclosed that one of the eight policemen has initially been found to have links with a kidnapping involving a ransom of P12 million.
Another one of the eight is also involved in keeping seized illegal drugs for himself and other policemen instead of turning the contraband over to authorities as evidence.
Evangelista, the father of the late Venson Evangelista, who was shot dead by car thieves before being burnt, said a lifestyle check is a crucial tool in determining whether policemen are engaged in crimes.
“It’s clear that there is failure of intelligence work [in screening policemen]. They [the authorities]should have known the restaurants that these policemen are frequenting, the cars they drive. If they did know about these, it would be easy to see that these cops are up to something else [aside from their day job],” he told reporters.
Evangelista said the alleged EDSA kidnappers who pulled the job off on the country’s busiest highway and in broad daylight have destroyed the credibility of the police force in protecting the people.
“This incident is alarming. The PNP is becoming like a crime syndicate, as evidenced by these cops who are well-trained and skilled. Sadly, one of them is even a bemedaled cop. His skills supposed to benefit us, but those were used against us,” he added without identifying the policeman.
Evangelista then urged PNP chief Alan Purisima to resign, noting that the country’s top policeman has lost credibility for failing to address controversies swirling around him.
“Yes, there should be change. He has been given enough time. It has been reported that he has a ‘White House’ given by an NGO [non-government organization] which would bind him to that NGO. That’s clear conflict of interest. He doesn’t even want to disclose his SALN [Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth],” he said of Purisima.