SouthCot town police chief probed for manhandling minor

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 Nov) – Police authorities in Region 12 have ordered an investigation into the alleged manhandling of a minor over curfew violations by a town police chief in South Cotabato.

Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, said Wednesday he directed a thorough investigation on Senior Insp. Virlen Pampolina, Sto. Nino municipal police chief, who was accused of mistreating a male teenager inside an internet café in the area last November 15.

He specifically ordered Senior Supt. Jose Briones Jr., South Cotabato police director, to lead the probe.

Pampolina allegedly roughed up the minor, who was working as a cashier at the internet café, at past 12 midnight last Saturday.

The police chief’s actions were captured by closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in the establishment.

The CCTV footage showed Pampolina entering the establishment at 12:32 a.m. and talked to some customers, including the minor who was then playing a computer game.

He left the internet café but returned after about two minutes and was seen accosting the minor.

Pampolina, who was wearing civilian clothes and with a handgun tucked on his waist, twisted the boy’s arms to his back and dragged him outside the establishment.

A witness said the police official appeared drunk and smelled of liquor during the incident.

Camba, who personally viewed and assessed the CCTV footage, said he initially found some lapses committed by Pampolina.

He said the police official, who was reportedly enforcing the town’s curfew regulation during the incident, was not wearing his proper uniform.

“He’s a chief of police and he can order his subordinates to do that (accosting curfew violators),” Camba said.

Pampolina, in an interview over TV Patrol Socksargen, played down the incident, saying he just enforced the town’s ordinance that barred minors from such establishments and other public areas after 9 p.m.

“They just misinterpreted the whole thing. The boy resisted so I forced him to stand up and go home,” he said.

The police official denied reports that he was drunk during the incident and insisted that he did not hurt the boy in any way and “not even a pinch.”