GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 January) – More than 300 police officers and rank-and-file personnel in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao are currently facing various administrative charges for violation of Philippine National Police (PNP) regulations and their alleged involvement in illegal and criminal activities in the area.
Chief Supt. Gil Meneses, Region 12 police director, said Friday the charges were based on the criminal and administrative cases earlier filed by some civilians against their personnel and recommendations made by the Police Regional Office 12’s (PRO-12) internal affairs service.
He said the charged policemen comprise six to seven percent of Region 12’s 4,000-strong police force.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Meneses said all the pending cases are currently undergoing marathon investigations and hearings in compliance with a recent directive from PNP Director General Raul Balcalzo.
He said Bacalzo specifically ordered the immediate resolution of the cases as part of the ongoing efforts to weed out the so-called scalawags or rogue policemen from their ranks and eventually help improve the image of the PNP.
“Our target is to complete all the investigations and come up with the appropriate resolutions before the end of the month,” the police official said.
Meneses did not specify the violations that involved the pending administrative cases but confirmed that some of them included charges in connection with some criminal cases.
Last year, PRO-12 directed the filing of administrative charges against several policemen from Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato provinces after failing the mandatory drug tests.
Several policemen were also reported to have been charged for their alleged involvement in illegal gambling activities in various parts of the region.
But Meneses clarified that the filing of administrative charges does not mean that the accused police personnel are already guilty of their supposed violations.
“If we eventually find out that they are not liable, we will immediately acquit them. But if found otherwise, then we will impose on them the necessary penalties ranging from possible suspension and dismissal from service, depending on the gravity of their violation or offense,” he said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)