PNP drops raps vs whistle-blower

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After a thorough review, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar concluded whistle-blower Nina Ellaine-Dizon should not have been charged in connection with the alleged “vaccine for sale” scheme.

Eleazar said yesterday he ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to withdraw the cases filed against Cabrera.

“I already instructed the CIDG to withdraw the cases filed against her before the Mandaluyong prosecutor’s office in the soonest possible time,” he said in a statement.

Eleazar also sacked from his post Lt. Col. Arnold Moleta, who heads the CIDG’s Eastern Metro Manila Distribt Field Unit, for the lapse of judgment and command responsibility in the conduct of the probe.

“Kagaya ng ipinangako ko, mananagot ang dapat managot kung may pagkukulang o pagkakamali na nangyari dito (Just as I promised, someone will be held accountable for the negligence or error),” Eleazar said.

Moleta’s unit filed the cases against Cabrera, which he based on the whistle-blower’s conversations with the supposed seller of COVID-19 vaccines, screenshots of which she posted on Twitter.

Moleta said the sale of COVID-19 vaccines is not allowed in the country and that Cabrera knows who sells the vaccine slots offered by local government units.

Eleazar, however, said Cabrera should not have been included in the criminal complaint based on the pieces of evidence on hand.

Instead of insisting on something that is wrong, Eleazar said the proper action to take is to withdraw the cases against Cabrera.

“Let this serve as a reminder to all our personnel that if you are assigned to do a task, always make sure that you do your best, and do it right,” he said.

Cabrera, together with Cyle Bonifacio and Melvin Gutierrez were charged with estafa, violation of Republic Act 11032 or the Anti-Red Tape Act and RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The cases against Bonifacio and Gutierrez will remain, according to Eleazar.

The gaffe will not deter them from running after the people who are taking advantage of the government’s vaccination program for their personal profit, Eleazar said.

Cabrera earlier said she did nothing wrong as she was the one who reported the alleged scheme when she realized the seller was offering vaccine slots from local government units.

Apology wanted

Cabrera, chief executive officer of Colourette Cosmetics, wants an apology from the PNP after Eleazar ordered the CIDG to withdraw the cases filed against her.

“I am still hoping that PNP chief Eleazar and his men take full responsibility for their actions and apologize for the lapses that caused the name I built for years to be tarnished,” she said.

Cabrera lauded Eleazar for reviewing the complaints filed aganst her.

“He exemplified good leadership by showing integrity and taking accountability,” she said.

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