By Martin Sadongdong
Police General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, has ordered the immediate relief of three key officers of the Soccksargen Police Regional Office (PRO-12) after they were linked to a P2-billion investment scam that allegedly victimizes policemen.
Relieved were Police Colonel Manuel Lukban Jr., PRO-12 regional directorial staff; Police Colonel Raul Supiter, director of the General Santos City Police Office; and Police Lieutenant Colonel Henry Binas, also of PRO-12. Albayalde had them under restrictive custody of the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU) of the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management (PNP-DPRM) in Camp Crame, Quezon City, pending investigation.
“Likewise, I have directed the PRO-12 under Police Brigadier General Eli (Eliseo) Rasco to expedite the investigation of those involved in the investment scam that has victimized many personnel in the region,” Albayalde said, assuring the relieved cops that they will be given due process.
According to Albayalde, he received a report that police officers in PRO-12 were victimized by the so-called Police Paluwagan Movement (PPM) allegedly operated by the relieved cops with the connivance of several other PNP personnel in the region.
Aside from cops, also supposedly victimized were prosecutors, judges, entrepreneurs, and civilians.
The PPM allegedly offered the victims a 60-percent interest rate for their investment within 15 days.
But a few months after investment, the victims could no longer cash the checks issued to them due to insufficiency of funds.
According to the report received by Albayalde, the PPM has been operating right inside the Camp Fermin Lira in General Santos City Police Office.
Supiter denied his involvement in the scam, saying he does not know that such investment scheme exists inside the General Santos police camp.
Rasco, for his part, admitted that he already received reports that some of the policemen in the region fell prey to the PPM scam since late 2018.
Rasco said he advised the cops that if an investment offer is too good to be true, they should think twice before putting in their hard-earned money because more often than not, it is a scam.
The regional police chief vowed to get to the bottom of the case and punish the cops that have committed an offense.
Albayalde said that if proven that they have committed a grave offense, they will face the full force of the law.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año warned other Police Regional Offices of the scam.
“I want the other regions to know of this scam so that they do not fall prey to a similar scheme. Let this serve as a warning to them that the DILG-PNP will not tolerate any wrongdoing among our ranks,” he added. (With a report from Chito A. Chavez)