The vice chairman of the House Committee on Justice on Wednesday, Sept. 8 called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to impose the stiffest penalty available on cops found guilty of extorting money from detainees set for release.
Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles aired the appeal as he decried the “predatory” practice that is still being practiced by many police officers.
“This corrupt practice should be weeded out, and cops found to be at fault should be heavily penalized. Nakakahiya ang ganitong modus at hindi dapat pabayaan ito ng liderato ng PNP (This act is embarrassing and should not be allowed to continue under the PNP leadership),” Nograles said.
A Harvard-trained lawyer, Nograles made the appeal after PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar ordered the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group to conduct an investigation on cops who allegedly have been deliberately delaying the release of detainees despite the issuance of a court order or having posted bail.
“I have received complaints about the alleged illegal activity of some corrupt police officers who deliberately delay the release of detainees even though there is a court order,” said Eleazar.
Nograles, who serves as vice chairman of the House Committee on Justice, called the practice “predatory,” as those who are forced to pay are most likely the poor who do not have the means to complain or seek legal counsel.
“Agents of the law are expected to combat crimes, not commit them,” he said.
Nograles, who also leads a legal aid foundation, also vowed to mobilize legal aid groups to help detainees who have been extorted by cops.
Nograles is the founder of Lakbay Hustisya, which advocates for free legal consultations for poor inmates.
The neophyte solon also urged victims or their families who wish to pursue legal action to come forward and coordinate with the foundation.