Probe on Antipolo ‘ninja cop’ reopened

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    ALL’S well that ends well.

    After publicly pointing fingers at each other for the slap on the wrist punishment against one of four Pampanga “ninja cops” involved in a ninja-type raid in Antipolo City last May, PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa and Internal Affairs Service (IAS) Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo have settled their differences and reached a consensus.

    Triambulo has agreed to reopen its investigation into the accountability of Lt. Joven de Guzman and try him for a graver offense that will warrant his dismissal from the Philippine National Police.

    Gamboa said this was the agreement that he and Triambulo reached when they met last Friday afternoon to iron out their conflicting opinions on De Guzman’s case and to discuss other matters related to IAS operations.

    The IAS has earlier recommended the dismissal from service of De Guzman but charged him with less grave neglect of duty, prompting Gamboa to downgrade the sanction to a mere 59-day suspension because the offense of less grave neglect of duty was not a dismissible case.

    Triambulo had decried the lesser sanction, insisting that De Guzman should not have been merely meted with suspension since he was equally guilty as the other police officers charged in relation to the Antipolo City operation.

    De Guzman was held accountable along with six other cops from Antipolo City for the dubious raid on the house of one Arnold Gramaje Jr. in barangay Inarawan last May, where they supposedly carted away valuables amounting to P30,000.

    De Guzman was one of four ninja cops – MSgt. Donald Roque, MSgt. Rommel Vital, and Cpl. Romeo Encarnacion Guerrero Jr. , who were involved in the November 2013 sham anti-narcotics raid conducted in the Pampanga house of suspected high-profile Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee.

    The IAS has recommended the dismissal of all seven Antipolo cops, including De Guzman.
    Gamboa said De Guzman will no longer be meted any punishment until the case for a graver offense against him is filed recommended by the IAS.

    “The 59 days suspension will not be anymore pursued. But again it is remanded and they (IAS) have already accepted,” Gamboa said, adding that the decision on De Guzman will be out in a week’s time.

    Also during the Friday afternoon meeting, Gamboa he likewise discussed with Triambulo the IAS request for additional adjudicatory powers and the supposed plan of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to grant the unit special functions with regards to the handling of administrative cases against erring cops.

    At present, IAS only has the power to recommend punishment against erring cops as the PNP chief has the final decision regarding the matter.

    Gamboa hinted Interior Secretary Eduardo Año is set to meet with the National Police Commission and the IAS to talk about the adjudicatory powers IAS has been asking for.

    “There is a kind of system that we will be adapting upon the issuance of a resolution coming from the Napolcom,” Gamboa said.