PNP probes reports of cops taking money from detainees before release
MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Philippine National Police ordered on Monday a thorough investigation into allegations that some police officers collect money from detainees before releasing them from police custody.
In a statement sent to reporters, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said that some cops turned the release into a money-making scheme by charging supposed "board and lodging fees, protection fees, and visitation fees."
"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.
"Because of this, I have instructed our Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group to conduct an investigation and operations in this regard so I encourage our countrymen to work together to identify and immediately punish the police involved in this."
Based on complaints received by Eleazar, some police officers have been deliberately delaying the release of detainees even if a court has already ordered them released or if they have already posted bail.
The police officers allegedly tell detainees they still have to check if the subject detainees are facing other cases.
Eleazar emphasized that a background check on detainees must be done immediately after the arrest for the purpose of determining if the subject detainees are also facing other cases or wanted for other criminal activities.
"I am also ordering all chiefs of police and other unit commanders to immediately release detainees under their custody if a court order is already issued and if the subject detainees have already complied with all the requirements for their release, except if they have other pending cases and if there are other legal grounds to continue their detention," said Eleazar.
Eleazar emphasized the scheme is only done by "a few erring policemen" who took advantage of the detainees and their relatives. Police leadership has been resistant to observations that the PNP needs to change its culture or that corruption is systemic in the agency.
He added that his directive was issued "to respect due process and existing laws."
"We will not allow this kind of corruption in our ranks and I guarantee that any mastermind-criminal police involved in this will be brought to light," he said.
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