MANILA, Philippines—At least 17 Philippine National Police (PNP) officers and men are in hot water after allegedly being involved in the hazing of recruits inside Camp Eldridge in Los Baños, Laguna.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo on Monday ordered the immediate filing of administrative and criminal charges against them for the alleged torture of recruits in September last year.
The DILG chief said two of the 17 officers facing charges and dismissal from the service were the immediate supervisors of the policemen involved in the hazing identified as Senior Inspector Leopoldo M. Ferre Jr., commanding officer of the 1st Maneuver Company, Regional Public Safety Battallion (RPSB); and Senior Inspector Klinto Rex Jamorol, course director, PNP Special Counter-insurgency Operation Unit Training (SCOUT).
The others, who were seen in the first video that shows they forced the recruits to eat and drink chili solution and the licking of the RPSB logo inside the camp, were police officers 1 Rique A. Oro, Rovvlynh S. Addatu, Evan Mark Quartero, Marfe P. Adier, Jhun A. Plonelo, and Allan A. Pascua.
The second group of “hazing” officers caught in the second video while applying chili solution on the private parts of the recruits, were identified as Police Officers 1 Melvin C. Malihan, Troy I. Sumayod, Randy Nabayra, Jodgi Vergara, Ezel Parpa, Ramil De Guzman, Crisanto Victorio, Arnel Yadis, and Alberto Umali.
Robredo said PNP chief General Raul Bacalzo reported to him that other police officers who may be identified later in the investigation as involved in the torture will also be held administratively and criminally liable.
“I have always thought that hazing no longer exists in our PNP training camps when the Anti-Torture Act (R.A. No. 9745) and the Anti-Hazing Act (R.A. 8049) were enacted into law. But when I saw the videos provided to us by the CHR, I learned that there are still officers who are bold enough to defy the law and tolerate institutional hazing and torture,” Robredo said.
“These violators can’t call themselves law enforcers as they have no place in the police service. They can neither protect human rights nor uphold the rule of law if they themselves are the first ones who would transgress them, inflicting torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment to young police recruits and using the police camps as their torture training grounds,” he added.
Commission Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Pargas-Rosales earlier provided the DILG chief with two sets of videos which she described as evidences that hazing and torture are still being practiced in PNP training camps in a systematic scale.
She said she got hold of the two sets of the Camp Eldridge “torture” videos contained in a CD and a letter, sent via “special carrier,” only on July 28.
Camp Eldridge, one of the 17 PNP training camps, is the home base of the 564th Engineering Construction Battalion under the Philippine Army’s 51st Engineering Brigade and is being shared with the PNP as training camp for recruits for the RPSB’s (formerly the PNP Regional Mobile Group) SCOUT.