THE police leadership yesterday rebuked Sen. Risa Hontiveros for suggesting that “personnel within our PNP” are working in cahoots with syndicates behind the growing Chinese prostitution industry in the country.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa took “strong exception” to Hontiveros’ “theory” that unscrupulous police officers may be colluding and protecting groups running Chinese sex dens in the country, especially in Metro Manila.
“In law enforcement and crime investigation, theories provide only speculative leads as it compromises the element of objectivity because there is a tendency to limit focus only on what the theory provides,” Banac said.
Banac assured Hontiveros and the public that the PNP, especially the Women Children Protection Center (WCPC) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), have been relentless in their operations against prostitution and other crimes.
“It should interest the good senator to note that the PNP, thru the WCPC, the CIDG and the local PNP units, have since been at the forefront of law enforcement efforts to suppress not only index crime incidents but also crimes against public morals including prostitution, gambling and illegal vices,” Banac said.
He said the WCPC was even recently given more teeth in its campaign against prostitution but did not elaborate on his statement.
“The WCPC has been empowered even more with orders from the chief PNP to lead the campaign against prostitution and trafficking of Filipino women, particularly by syndicated activities operated by foreign groups,” he said.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas said the senator’s allegation that some police officers are protecting Chinese prostitution syndicates was an “invalidated assumption.”
Sinas said the NCRPO has been actively carrying out raids and anti-crime operations against the syndicates. “Up to this moment, we are ceaselessly working on intensifying our efforts to eradicate the proliferation of these prostitution syndicates,” he said.
Besides, Sinas said the PNP has intensified its internal cleansing program to rid their ranks of scalawag police officers.
Hontiveros, chairwoman of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, made her statement against the PNP following revelations in a committee hearing that more Chinese prostitution dens have sprung up in Metro Manila parallel to the increasing number of Chinese-run Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) centers, who serve mostly Chinese clients.
The Senate hearing likewise divulged that prostitution syndicates have become more creative and innovative and have now resorted to the use of online messaging applications to sell their “products” using codes generally used by food delivery online services.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said he has given directives to the PNP to further intensify the government anti-sex trade campaign.
“I gave an instruction to the chief PNP to strengthen and give emphasis on this particular prostitution. We found out that prostitution is really going on victimizing Chinese and using local Filipinas and actually also Chinese nationals,” Año said.
“Sa ngayon nagpalabas na ng directive si chief PNP. I-beef up namin hindi lang ‘yung women’s desks, also special units to keep track of these POGO centers,” he added. – With Rod Lagusad