THE fourth Pampanga “ninja cop” involved in a recent ninja-type operation in Antipolo City, Rizal has been ordered dismissed from the police service.
Lt. Joven de Guzman was dismissed on the recommendation of the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service. He was the team leader among the seven police officers involved in the dubious Antipolo raid on the house of a certain Arnold Gramaje that was carried out without a search warrant and made out to be a drug bust.
Four of the seven Antipolo cops, including De Guzman, were among the 13 ninja cops who carried out a sham anti-narcotics raid on the house of a suspected high-profile Chinese drug lord in Pampanga in 2013.
De Guzman, MSgt. Donald Roque and Rommel Vital, and Cpl. Romeo Encarnacion Guerrero Jr. were part of the group of former Pampanga police officers who were accused of allegedly pilfering some 160 kilos of shabu from the operation and for supposedly accepting a P50 million bribe to let suspect Johnson Lee escape.
The questionable raid and the names of the 13 ninja cops were exposed by former CIDG director and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong in a hearing conducted by the Senate blue ribbon and justice committees.
Roque, Vital and Encarnacion have been earlier sacked in relation to the Antipolo raid. De Guzman’s case, on the other hand, was remanded to the IAS for review as he was only previously charged with a less grave offense, which did not warrant a dismissal but a mere 59-day suspension.
PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, in a press briefing at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, said said De Guzman was given the chance to defend himself during the proceedings but did not participate.
Gamboa said De Guzman was given two notices “but he did not respond so we tried the case ex-parte which is allowed by procedure and by law.”
“The investigation was very swift because he did not answer, so it was tried ex-parte, meaning without his participation. This means without his participation, the case went ahead and it’s not even required by law that he will answer,” Gamboa explained.
“Since he did not answer, this means he has no intention of presenting new evidence. He should have presented evidence, but he did not do it,” he added.
Gamboa said De Guzman has 10 to 15 days to appeal the dismissal order and “if he fails to answer, then that’s executory.”
Gamboa also ordered summary dismissal proceedings against three policemen assigned with the Marantao PNP in Lanao del Sur after they were arrested in a buy-bust operation on October 30 in Parang town in Maguindanao.
The three were identified as Executive Master Sergeant Monjel Nassal Aradias, S/Sgt. Fami Bangon Como and Patrolman Sandial Magundacan. They yielded 50 grams of shabu during the buy-bust operation.
Gamboa said the chief of police of Marantao, Capt. Sainodin Benasing, had been relieved from his post “and will (also) undergo investigation.”
Gamboa said he has ordered Brig. Gen. Marne Marcos, director of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional police office, to initiate the dismissal proceedings against Aradias, Como and Magundacan within 15 days.
“I would like to emphasize that the PNP internal cleansing program that we are implementing will be swift, decisive and uncompromising, especially against personnel involved in drugs,” Gamboa said.