THE National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) yesterday recalled its 551 augmentation force at the New Bilibid Prison amid the contraband smuggling issue involving 16 policemen.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said NCRPO chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas has ordered a strict screening on the 551 cops before they are re-deployed to the jail facility.
“Winithdaw muna ‘yung buong puwersa na augmentation doon, may kabuuang 500 plus na mga pulis, upang tingnan ang kanilang background, ang kanilang mga character or values para makasiguro tayo na ‘yung mga ipapadala na augmentation forces ay hindi masisilaw kaagad sa kung anumang ino-offer sa kanila (They have temporarily withdrawn around 500 plus policemen so they can undergo strict background check, to be sure that those who will be redeployed there are men of good character),” Banac said.
Bureau of Corrections spokeswoman Wena de Falagan said move was decided during a meeting between prisons Director General Gerald Bantag and Sinas at the BuCor headquarters on Wednesday morning.
De Falagan said the recalled augmentation forces will be replaced by personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion, also from the NCRPO.
De Falagan said the recall will be done by batches.
Aside from the involvement of police officers in smuggling of items considered as contrabands, the spokesperson said the move was also aimed at preventing familiarization among police officers and inmates.
The NCRPO augmentation forces were dispatched by then Metro Manila police chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar to the NBP to serve as backup forces as Bureau of Corrections officials started to demolish illegal structures inside the maximum security compound, which was met with violent resistance by inmates detained at the maximum security compound.
At one point, an improvised explosive devise went off as a team from the Department of Public Works and Highways were working on a makeshift room occupied by extremist Muslim prisoners.
The NCRPO has started its investigation into the contraband smuggling incident, and is expected to come out with its evaluation and recommendations on Friday.
The National Police Commission has said it will conduct a motu propio investigation on the 16 cops who were caught trying to smuggle inside the NBP compound alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, and electronic gadgets, which are banned items inside the jail premises.
If the 16 are found guilty of grave misconduct, the Napolcom has said they face dismissal from service. – With Rod Lagusad