Cops sacked over ‘lapses’ in Quiboloy arrest

Emmanuel Tupas, Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star
Cops sacked over �lapses� in Quiboloy arrest
Apollo Quiboloy.
AFP / Manman Dejeto

MANILA, Philippines — The top police commander in Davao region and other ranking officials were sacked from their posts and placed on floating status following raids on the properties of fugitive pastor Apollo Quiboloy, which was criticized by his allies for allegedly being excessive.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil has relieved Brig. Gen. Aligre Martinez from his post as director of Police Regional Office 11 and reassigned him to the personnel holding and admin unit of the police Directorate for Personnel and Records Management.

Martinez was replaced by Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III, the head of Communications and Electronic Service, who is known for his three-minute response time policy when he was director of the Quezon City Police District.

Also affected by the fallout from the operation were Directorate for Operations (DO) head Maj. Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee and Col. Edwin Portento of the Intelligence Group.

PNP chief information officer Col. Jean Fajardo said yesterday that 12 other police officers – nine from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, two from the Special Action Force (SAF) and one from the Davao City Traffic Enforcement Unit – were also relieved from their posts.

Those relieved were Lt. Col. Allan Reginald Laguardia Basiya (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Davao City), Lt. Col. Dexter Sosa Domingo (Traffic Enforcement Unit chief Davao City), Majors Ricky Malinao Fornolles and Nilo Atencio Morallos, Capt. Martin Torres Cordero, Executive Master Sergeants Mark Christopher Garcia Aala, Mediavillo Perez Alcantara, Rodrigo Silang Arguelles and Jhonathan Cornejo Recto; and Staff Sgt. Adel Dinamling Balais of the CIDG.

Two others were from SAF Davao: Corporals Francis Paul Paner Amisola and Lues Lirk Zonio Catedral.

Fajardo said the administrative relief of the officials was done to give way to an impartial investigation to determine if there were lapses and violation of police operational procedures.

“They were administratively relieved to give way to the conduct of the investigation that will determine if there were lapses, if there were excesses or if there was negligence of supervision,” Fajardo said in a news briefing.

Asked why Lee was included in the relief when his office is in the national police headquarters at Camp Crame in Quezon City, Fajardo said he was involved during the planning and deployment of troops.

The DO is involved in the planning, direction, control and supervision of PNP operations.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte, Quiboloy’s ally, has earlier described as “overkill” the police operations to serve warrants of arrest against the evangelist, which the PNP disputes.

Fajardo maintained the police raiding teams from the SAF, CIDG and Davao police exercised maximum tolerance when they were met by Quiboloy’s ardent followers.

On Duterte’s threat that he would sue the police, Fajardo said they are open to the filing of criminal cases as it is part of due process. However, she reminded Quiboloy and his supporters they must also follow the   laws of the country and respect judicial processes.

Police have filed criminal complaints against six followers of Quiboloy who attempted to attack with bolos the policemen who entered the Glory Mountain in Barangay Tamayong in Davao.

The PNP is also studying whether it would file cases against Quiboloy’s other followers who used a water cannon against police officers.

“We are studying if we will file a case over this or to let it be so as not to exacerbate the tension between the PNP and the followers and supporters of Pastor Quiboloy,” Fajardo said.

KOJC slams raids

The Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) insists that the simultaneous police operations to serve warrants of arrest to Quiboloy and his co-accused were overkill and illegal.

“It was indeed an overkill and illegal. Overkill because they violated Rule 113 Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,” lawyer Israelito Torreon said during a press conference aired on SMNI News on Thursday evening.

Under Rule 113 Section 2, “no violence or unnecessary force shall be used in making an arrest. The person arrested shall not be subject to a greater restraint than is necessary for his detention.”

Torreon said that Quiboloy is a religious person and the other co-accused are also not known to be violent persons and that there was no justification for the show of force of the arresting officers.

“Quantity-wise the number is outrageous. Quality-wise, the use of armalites, bazookas, is likewise incongruous and the force is therefore unreasonable,” Torreon said, as he accused the police of violating the rules of engagement when they scaled the walls of the KOJC compound.

He also maintained that the police did not make a call to former president Duterte regarding their service of the warrants of arrest. The police also reportedly refused to wait for the KOJC lawyers.

The serving officers also reportedly misled the KOJC guards by saying they have search warrants when in fact they were carrying arrest warrants. The police were able to enter and search the compounds, but also caused damage to KOJC properties.

The KOJC is still mulling the filing of a case against the PNP after several KOJC workers were charged with obstruction of justice.

Senate probe

Sen. Robinhood Padilla is calling for a Senate investigation into the alleged “unnecessary and excessive force” used by police officers during the raid on KOJC premises in Davao City last June 10.

“Was there a violation of the PNP’s policy to respect human rights when its operatives conducted an operation on the KOJC premises in Davao City last June 10?” asked Padilla.

“In serving warrants, law enforcement should take into consideration the totality of the situation at hand which should not in any way violate the dignity of persons,” Padilla said in a resolution he will file on June 18.

The resolution seeks to direct the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation on the alleged unnecessary and excessive force by the PNP members in the June 10 operation.

Padilla said no less than Article II Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution “imposes upon the Government the primary duty to serve and protect the people” while Article II Section 11 of the Constitution “is a recognition of the State’s high regard to the dignity of every person with a guarantee of full respect for human rights.” — Cecille Suerte Felipe, Diana Lhyd Suelto

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