By Martin Sadongdong
Police General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, reminded the 190,000-strong police personnel Friday to strictly abide by the police operational procedures (POP) or rules of engagement in all operations and activities amid the death of a six-year-old boy in Caloocan City at the hands of a cop.
“Compliance with the requirements prescribed in the POP duly establishes presumption of regularity in the performance of duty under any circumstances,” Albayalde said.
“All police actions ought to be guided by the POP that should be followed to the letter,” he added.
Albayalde issued the reminder after six-year-old Gian Habal was allegedly caught in a crossfire between Police Corporal Rocky Delos Reyes, a member of the Caloocan City Police administration unit, and a supposedly wanted suspect in Caloocan City last Sunday, April 28.
Delos Reyes told his colleagues that he was conducting patrol operations when he saw the wanted suspect, who he failed to identify. A chase ensued which led to the supposed shootout, he claimed.
However, the victim’s grandmother, 65-year-old Elsa Montanez, claimed that there was no shootout.
The victim sustained a gunshot wound in the forehead while Montanez was shot in the leg by Delos Reyes when the elderly tried to prevent the policeman from fleeing the scene of the incident.
Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), earlier questioned the irregularity of the supposed operation since he said Delos Reyes was not even a member of Caloocan police’s arresting unit.
Eleazar also said that the bullet that killed Habal matched the gun used by Delos Reyes.
As for Albayalde, he cited Rules 7 and 8 of the POP which govern the use of force during police operations and define the circumstances when the use of firearms is justified.
“Had Delos Reyes faithfully followed the procedure, the incident would have been prevented,” he said.
“The PNP will never tolerate any wrongdoing or illegal act committed by any personnel especially that we are serious with our campaign on internal cleansing,” he added.
Delos Reyes has since been reassigned to the personnel holding and accounting unit of the Northern Police District (NPD).
Aside from administrative cases, Delos Reyes was also slapped with murder and frustrated murder charges.
Based on records, Albayalde said the PNP has imposed disciplinary actions ranging from suspension, demotion to dismissal against 8,440 policemen since 2016.