GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 Sept) – Police Regional Office 12 director Chief Supt. Alex Paul Monteagudo issued a public apology on Thursday over the implication of several local policemen in criminal activities and in a case of public disturbance here earlier this week.
Monteagudo particularly referred to an extortion case last Sept. 6 that linked three policemen, two of whom were top officials of the City Public Safety Company (CPSC), as well as the public disturbance and indiscriminate firing incident last Monday evening that involved two other officers of the unit.
The official relieved Chief Insp. Jardi Mont Sibal and Insp. Nemesio Calipjo from their posts after they reported drunk, created trouble and fired indiscriminately inside the CPSC headquarters at the Camp Lira here on Monday night.
Sibal headed he CPSC’s anti-illegal drugs special operations team while Calipjo was chief of the unit’s theft and robbery section.
“We apologize to the public for whatever alarm that may have been caused by (these incidents). But we’d like to assure the public that we will hold all these people accountable for their actions,” Monteagudo said.
He said Sibal and Calipjo’s actions stemmed from the filing of obstruction of justice and grave threat charges filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Region 12 against them in connection with the extortion-related entrapment operation last Sept. 6 at the CPSC office.
Acting on orders from Monteagudo, the CIDG launched the entrapment operation over a complaint that a man posing as intermediary for the local police was trying to extort P220,000 from the family of detained illegal drug suspect Junard Abaga in exchange for the dismissal of the latter’s case.
During the operation, CIDG operatives caught an alleged extortionist identified as certain Nelson Bering in the act of receiving money from the complainants.
The payoff reportedly happened inside the CPSC compound and in the presence of Police Officer 3 Leopoldo Pascual, a former unit operative who was reassigned to the city police’s intelligence and detective management bureau.
But CIDG operatives failed to arrest the suspects due to the intervention then of CPSC head Supt. Jesse Ramos and several other officers and members of the unit.
Monteagudo said Sibal and Calipjo were among the CPSC officers who interfered with the arrest of the extortion suspect by blocking the way of the CIDG operatives with high-powered firearms drawn.
“They allowed people to come to their office to commit a crime and then protected them from getting arrested,” he said.
“These activities may have been going on for some time but nobody has stood up against these people,” Monteagudo stressed.
The police official said the CPSC officers should have stepped aside when the CIDG operatives came and explained their purpose.
The CIDG already filed various administrative and criminal charges against Pascual, Ramos, Calipjo, Sibal and CPSC deputy head Chief Insp. Edgar Yago in connection with the extortion case and the bungled entrapment operation.
The erring policemen are now separately in the custody of the city and regional personnel holding and accounting units, pending an ongoing pre-charge evaluation and investigation of their cases.
(Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)