Saturday, November 22, 2014

Laoag police officials involved in evidence-planting of illegal drugs should be jailed

The NBI in Ilocos Norte held a press conference on October 24 in Laoag City regarding the evidence-planting case that Mr. Marwin Calina's lawyers have filed against SPO4 Rubimanuel Balonglong and other police officers belonging to the Laoag City police. The NBI announced that April Joy Idmilao, a 16 year-old resident of Brgy. 5 of Laoag, accompanied by her parents and her brother, voluntarily submitted herself to the NBI to confess that she was coaxed by SPO4 Balolong to make a conjured up testimony to the judge to justify the issuance of a search warrant on Calina's property last August.

Idmilao presented herself to the judge that she was 19 years old when in fact she is only 16, a misrepresentation imposed on her by Balolong, so her written confession with the NBI stated. Among other things, she also stated that she was Balolong's girlfriend and that she would sometimes ride along with him and his colleagues at the Laoag police during police field operations.

Idmilao's NBI confession seems to have put more screws on the NBI's case against Balolong and company as this clearly substantiates the earlier revelation of Calina's brother-in-law to this investigative agency that he had planted some illegal drugs provided by the Laoag police at Calina's residence for them to find in their search. 

What amazes this writer is the obvious indifference of the PNP hierarchy on this shameful and embarrassing “abracadabra” of their station in Laoag City. This has been exposed by the NBI and they have already filed the appropriate charges against Balolong and his cohorts but we still find the Laoag police personnel intact, as if nothing scandalous has happened involving their unit. The Quezon City policemen who robbed the Mindanao traders of P2 million were summarily relieved of their posts when the case was exposed on media. So were the Manila policemen who tried to extort money from a legitimate businessman. Are the crimes of robbery and extortion graver than the crimes of perjury and of planting of evidence? General Allan Purisima, sir, can you explain?

What happened to Calina is a classic case for the human rightists, the Justice Department and the Congress to dip their fingers into. No one in this country does not abhor criminality, especially prohibited drugs trading, but the rule of law must be held paramount yet to police passions if we desire our fledgling democracy to survive. The government should revisit our criminal justice system to put more legal teeth for just and proper police investigations, searches and arrests. No one is empowered to put a man to jail on fabricated evidence but with the sophistry of policemen like Balolong and the members of the Laoag PNP, any Tom, Dick or Harry could languish in jail without being guilty. 

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