A total of 231 policemen in Western Visayas have been charged before the PNP Regional Legal Service for various administrative offenses, from January to November 2010, police records show.
Supt. Ranulfo Demiar, regional police spokesman, however, said 180 of them have already been punished, while the Regional Legal Service office was ordered to hasten the investigation and resolution of the complaints against the remaining 51 policemen by Jan. 31.
This is in compliance with the order of PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo, and the “zero-case backlog program” of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo.
Demiar said Chief Supt. Cipriano Querol, regional police director, wants all cases filed against policemen in Western Visayas to be immediately resolved, as part of the PNP effort to cleanse its ranks of erring members, and to attain positive perception of their police from the public.
Records of the Commission on Human Rights also showed that policemen have consistently topped its list of human rights violators in the region, for more than a decade.
The number of erring policemen facing charges is expected to rise, as records released by the PRO6 covered only the period from January to November last year.
Demiar said Querol also reminded them of the “‘three-strike policy’ against the immediate supervisors or commanders of the erring police personnel.
“The chiefs of police or heads of police units are liable pursuant to doctrine of command responsibility for the misdemeanor of their personnel,” he said.
A policeman identified as PO1 Mark Anthony Pestolante was recently arrested in Bacolod City, while allegedly engaging in a pot session. He was also tested for shabu use, Senior Supt. Celestino Guara, Bacolod City Police Office director, said.
Querol said the PRO6 will coordinate with the prosecutors and the courts on the possible detention of arrested police personnel in the provincial or city jails.
“These actions are to give the public an assurance of the credibility of the investigation and to erase the suspicion of special treatment or ‘white-wash’ of their cases,” he added.
Querol also said the PRO6 will institute proactive programs to deter police personnel from getting involved in infractions.
The PNP Training Service in Western Visayas headed by Supt. William Senoron has started the re-training of some policemen assigned in Bacolod City, as part of the eight Foundation Initiatives formulated by Bacalzo.
Senoron said policemen are being given refresher courses in the delivery of basic police service, and to update them on new PNP laws.*GPB