EXCUSES, EXCUSES: Most absentee cops fell sick in one day

A POLICE officer performs the squat thrust as punishment after Colonel Roland Vilela spotted him wearing civilian clothes inside their station on Monday. (Francis Lindero)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon 

ON SEPT. 30, 2019 the Philippine National Police (PNP) raised a full alert status because of the nationwide transport strike. It was also the day when a number of Iloilo police officers suddenly became ill and underwent medical examination.

This was one of the conclusions that could be derived if explanations of some Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) personnel are to be believed.

Police Colonel Roland Vilela, Iloilo police director, earlier ordered 48 police officers, including three police chiefs, to explain their absence from duty on Monday.

Vilela did not name the officers but the 48 cops are from the police stations of Pavia, Oton, San Miguel, Maasin, and Cabatuan.

The chiefs of police are from Pavia, San Miguel, and Cabatuan.

So far, Vilela said only eight cops presented acceptable reasons.

“Several of them submitted a medical certificate that they underwent medical check-up on that time. If I will take their explanation hook, line, and sinker, ibig sabihin ang daming nagkasakit sa kanila noong araw na ‘yun,” he said.

But Vilela said he tasked the IPPO Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Section to review the letter of explanation submitted by each policeman.

“We might ask for additional requirement from them,” he said.

Vilela said he might only absolve policemen who applied for sick leave days before Sept. 30.

In the case of Police Lieutenant Joebert Amado, the chief of police Cabatuan PNP, he took a leave of absence two weeks before Monday.

“He was in Manila. When the full alert status was declared, he called me up and asked the need for him to go back to Iloilo. Sayang ang pamasahe nya,” he said.

Amado, who has yet to submit his written explanation, said he was in Manila for a medical check-up and to follow-up his license with the Professional Regulations Commission.

Others, on the other hand, claimed that they were on patrol when Vilela made the visit.

“But their chiefs of police should have told me right there and then that they were on patrol,” he said.

Vilela also asked for their patrol plan and blotter report that they went out to patrol but to no avail.

Two more IPPO members – a uniformed and a non-uniformed personnel (NUP) – were also made to explain after they were not in proper uniform during Vilela’s inspection.

The NUP later claimed that his uniform got burned during ironing while the policeman claimed he had a tattered uniform and was waiting for a new set in a month’s time.

A full alert status was raised following the nationwide transport strike of public utility vehicles (PUVs).

The 48 police personnel’s absence was known after their stations failed to submit a “situationer” relative to the ongoing transport strike.

Their failure prompted Vilela to inspect their police stations where it was learned that some cops were absent from their post.

But so far, “many of the reasons are lame, and they need to be further investigated,” the Iloilo top cop said.

The investigation will dig on the veracity of the claims as stated in their explanation letters.

Vilela said disciplining his personnel is among his priorities as he supports the revitalized enhanced PNP Internal Cleansing Program.

“We are paid well to do our functions. We should not short-change the people by not doing what is required and expected of us to do,” he said.