Issue of September 6, 2009
Mt. Province
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3 Baguio cops suspended 60 days for warrant–less arrest
by Jimmy Laking

A police inspector and two of his men will be suspended from police service up to Sept. 29 after they were found guilty of grave misconduct for the warrantless arrest and illegal detention for almost eight hours of six persons in Baguio last June 22, 2008. 

Ordered suspended for 60 days with forfeiture of salary were Insp. Joseph Del Castillo and his men SPO1 Erickson Banaken and SPO1 Bobby Martes, all detailed at Station 7 of the Baguio City Police Office. 

Cordillera police director C/Supt. Orlando Pestaño approved the suspension order last June 8, but the three police officers started serving their punishment only on Aug. 1. 

The administrative case against the three police officers stemmed from the complaints of Michael Lacbawan, Agosto Diwayan, Waclin Sacyabon, Freddie Tuangan, Rodolfo Sacyaton, and Jerome Sigang, who said they were arrested along Burnham Park and were detained from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. without food and water on mere suspicion that they are involved in cases of pick pocketing in the central business district. 

The complainants claimed they were prevented by policemen to buy food or water while detained at Compact 2 along Burnham Park while they claimed they saw policemen were having a drinking spree inside the police center that time. 

The complainants added that they were ordered to bring out everything in their pockets to include their wallets, cash, and cellular phones. They were able to secure their belongings except their cash money amounting to P1,500. 

Records show that the complainants were only released at around 6 p.m. of June 22, 2008 upon the arrival of SPO1 Banaken at the police precinct but the police officer was still included in the complaint. 

The complainants also submitted an affidavit of desistance withdrawing their complaint against SPO1 Martes but the PNP Manual states that withdrawal or retraction does not result in outright dismissal of the case filed against personnel of the PNP. 

“A perusal of the above-mentioned events corroborated by all the facts and circumstances would yield in a conclusion to reasonable mind that complainants have been arrested by the respondents through an unverified and unconfirmed information, mere suspicion and hearsay,” reads the suspension order. 

The order stated the police officers violated the PNP Operational Procedures on valid warrantless arrests and likewise violated the Constitutional rights of the complainants.

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