The issue of alleged maltreatment of neophyte police officers assigned at the 6th Regional Public Safety Battalion in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, has refused to die down.
Janine Panaguiton reported to the Victorias City Police Station that her brother, Police Officer 1 Wilson Panaguiton, who is assigned at the 2nd Company of 6th RPSB, suffered hematoma on his butt and hand, had swelled, and this were allegedly inflicted by Police Inspector Grace Borio and PO1 Ryan Aranda on June 9.
PO1 Panaguiton, however, was released from the Escalante District Hospital after his confinement of four days.
Supt. Iver Apellido, 6th RPSB director, yesterday said that he has already ordered an investigation on the claims of Panaguiton’s sister, and has disarmed Borio and Aranda of their issued firearms, pending investigation on the allegations.
Apellido said he also cancelled the assignment of Panaguiton, who was among the 414 neophyte policemen and women who recently completed PNP SCOUT training, and assigned him at Camp Aniceto Lacson in Victorias City, while the case is being investigated.
He said maltreatment of neophyte cops will not be tolerated. Should there be probable cause, Apellido said he will immediately order pre-charge investigation.
As of this time, however, Apellido said neither Panaguiton or any of his family members has submitted a medical findings, although they had met Saturday, to back up allegations that he was subjected to maltreatment.
In the conduct of camp defense plan and physical exercises, he said it cannot be avoided that there are instances where police trainees may be accidentally hurt, he stressed.
Janine, in an interview Friday with ABS-CBN, said she did not believe the claims of Apellido that her brother may have fallen down and was stepped on by his colleagues during their training, citing a hematoma on his body.
Apellido expressed dismay that the allegations were “blown out of proportion”, as the family of Panaguiton demanded his transfer from the 2nd Company to another of unit of 6th RPSB in Manapla, which is close to his home.
Even Panaguiton himself has not filed any complaints against his colleagues, and only his sister had made the allegations, he said.
Due to humanitarian considerations, Apellido said he granted the request of Panaguiton’s family that Wilson should rest for seven days, although he did not file for sick leave.
In 2005 and 2007, commanders of the then 6th Regional Mobile Group were also criticized for allowing the alleged maltreatment of neophyte police officers, as a form of traditional welcome for them to the PNP service.
Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, provincial police officer-in-charge, who also served as 6th RPSB director, said hazing is not allowed in the PNP.*GPB