By Jennifer P. Rendon
Two police officers of the Tigbauan Municipal Police Station might be relieved from their posts following the escape of a detainee on Nov. 25.
Major Rolando Araño, Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) spokesperson, did not identify the two policemen but confirmed that they were the duty jailer and sentinel at the time detainee Jesry Manlapuz bolted his prison cell.
Araño said the two couldn’t be relieved immediately because of the election period, which will run until Nov. 29.
It can be noted that during the election period, transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service is not allowed.
“So, they might be relieved effective Nov. 30 and will be reassigned to the IPPO headquarters,” Araño said.
Aside from the police officers, their immediate superior, Tigbauan police chief Captain Mary Jane Panes, will also be probed under the doctrine of command responsibility.
“We would like to find out if Captain Panes has committed lapses or not by virtue of her command responsibility,” Araño said.
Manlapuz, 21, a resident of Barangay 2, Poblacion, Tigbauan, Iloilo, was arrested in a police anti-illegal drugs operation on Nov. 17.
According to reports, the suspect at around 12:15 a.m. Saturday asked the duty sentinel if he could use the comfort room for personal necessity.
Araño explained that Tigbauan Municipal Police Station is housed in a standard police building. As such, its custodial facility has its own comfort room inside.
However, at that time, the comfort room was under repair because the toilet bowl flush was not working.
The sentinel allowed him to use the nearby toilet which is just situated at an arm’s length from the custodial facility.
The report stated that the sentinel let Manlapuz out without informing the duty jailer.
It was only later that they noticed that the suspect had gone out of the toilet and did not return to his cell.
Early evening of Nov. 27, Manlapuz surrendered to Colonel Ronaldo Palomo, Iloilo police chief, through XFM Radio-Iloilo. He was fetched at Barangay Buga, Leon town.
Manlapuz has also made accusations against policemen of Tigbauan PNP. He started by claiming that there was no buy-bust that happened.
The suspect even informed Panes about it and told the latter about his help to the local police force.
He also claimed that an intelligence operative of Tigbauan PNP had told him that he wouldn’t be able to go out and that he would just rot in jail.
Before he was taken to the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutors’ Office, the same policeman also choked him and attempted to punch him. The cop also challenged him to file a case.
Despite being behind bars, Manlapuz claimed that the policeman even asked for names of drug peddlers that they could arrest.
Members of Tigbauan PNP have yet to disprove Manlapuz’s claims.