Ombudsman penalizes 21 PNP officers over Davao death squad

March 29, 2012 10:24 pm 

MANILA, March 29 — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has penalized 21 high-ranking officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in connection with the "unabated killings" in Davao City in recent years attributed to the "Davao Death Squad" (DDS).

Found guilty of simple neglect of duty, for which they were meted the penalty of fine equivalent to a month's salary, were Sr. Superintendents Catalino Cuy and Jaime Morente; Chief Inspectors Matthew Baccay, Filmore Escobal, Leandro Felonia, Marvin Manuel Pepino, Ranulfo Cabanog and Vicente Danao; Superintendents Harry Espela, Michael John Dubria and Rommil Mitra; Sr. Inspectors Maximiano Atuel and Arnulfo Mahinay, all of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO).

Also fined were Chief Inspector Alden Delvo; Inspectors Rolly Tropico and Dionisio Abude; Sr. Inspector Antonio Alberio Jr.; Chief Inspectors Juel Neil Salcedo, Joselito Loriza, Joel Neil Rojo and Napoleon Eguia.

Morales approved the ruling with modification as to penalty from one month suspension to fine equivalent to a month's salary.

The case arose from a letter-complaint addressed to the Office of the Ombudsman sent by a person purporting to represent a group named Davao City Deserves Good Government Movement, claiming that a certain group known as the DDS was "responsible for the unsolved killings of more than 800 persons."

The same complaint alleged that high-ranking officers of the PNP were directly involved in the murders.

Records showed that from 2005 to 2008, the DCPO registered an unusually high number of unsolved killings.

The perpetrators of these executions were usually two motorcycle-riding gunmen and the killings were mostly drug-related.

The Ombudsman fact-finding team reported that in four years, there were 720 persons murdered — 97 in 2005, 165 in 2006, 199 in 2007 and 259 in 2008. However, a mere 321 or less than 50 percent of the cases were solved.

The killings were repeatedly committed within the areas of jurisdiction of respondents' precincts where they were assigned.

"From the foregoing figures, it is evident that respondents were remiss in their duty to significantly reduce the number of killings," the Ombudsman said in its decision.

"Also, the same shows that respondents failed to solve a substantial number, if not all, of the killings," the ruling said.

"Under Executive Order No. 226 dated 17 February 1995, an officer of the Philippine National Police or that of any other law enforcement agency is held accountable for 'Neglect of Duty' under the doctrine of 'command responsibility' if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective action either before during, or immediately after its commission," the ruling added. (PNA) DCT/scs/PTR

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