BY RAYMOND AFRICA and ASHZEL HACHERO
THE 16 policemen who smuggled contraband items inside the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) last week are at risk of being dismissed from service for grave misconduct, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) said yesterday.
Napolcom Vice Chair Rogelio Casurao said grave misconduct is punishable with dismissal from service even on the first offense.
“So I am almost certain it will warrant dismissal, grave misconduct, maliwanag ‘yan (that’s very clear),” Casurao said.
The 16 cops were part of the police contingent deployed to help the BuCor demolish illegal structures put up by inmates inside the maximum security compound of the national penitentiary.
Casurao said the policemen breeched the trust given to them by the NBP when they sneaked in tobacco products, alcoholic drinks and mobile phones.
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) is eyeing the filing of grave misconduct complaints against the 16 police officers.
BuCor spokesperson Maj. Wena Dalagan said: “Kung mapatunayan natin na ‘yung na-sneak nila ay para ibenta sa loob, grave misconduct ang ating ikakaso (If we will be able to prove that they smuggled prohibited items to sell inside the Bibilid, we will file grave misconduct against them).”
Dalagan said additional raps can be filed against the policemen if it will be determined that the prohibited items were for the inmates’ personal use.
“Meron kasi tayong directive na bawal po ang pagkakaroon ng cellphone during custodial and escorting function and ‘yung kapag papasok sa jail o prison premises (We have an existing directive against the use of mobile phones inside the prison facility),” she explained.
Casurao said the Napolcom can conduct a motu propio investigation into the smuggling case.
NCRPO acting director Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said the 16 cops showed up on Monday at the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (RIDMD) of the NCRPO to submit their counter-affidavits.
Sinas had earlier given the police officers until Wednesday to submit their counter affidavits to shed light on the NBP smuggling incident.
He declined to identify the cops who he said have already been reassigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit.
The 16 policemen, who were formerly assigned to district offices and the NCRPO’s Regional Mobile Force Company, were part of the 551 cops fielded by the NCRPO to secure the premises of NBP’s maximum security compound as guard posts.
They were caught smuggling the contraband items when frisked by regular jail guards while about to enter the NBP compound.
Because of the incident, Sinas said will now replace NCRPO personnel posted at the NBP every other month to avoid being corrupted and spurn possible bribes from inmates.
Dalagan said the incident will not affect the good working relationship between the BuCor and the PNP, as well as the reforms initiated by new prisons chief, Gerald Bantag.
Bantag, who was formerly with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, was appointed to the agency after President Duterte sacked Nicanor Faeldon from his post due to anomalies related to the application of the Good Conduct Time Allowance and the premature release of heinous crime convicts.
A Senate investigation on the GCTA mess uncovered additional irregularities, such as the “hospital pass for sale” scheme and the continued operation of illegal activities inside the NBP, particularly the sale of prohibited drugs.