MANILA, Philippines – Policemen who were acquitted of murder in the Ampatuan Massacre may return to active service, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
They need, however, to go through the proper process.
PNP Spokesperson Bernard Banac clarified, however, that only 17 from all 36 acquitted cops may return to active duty.
This is because the rest of 19 acquitted cops were already dismissed from service.
Banac also clarified that the cops are no longer entitled to back wages.
“Their acquittal does not necessarily translate to reinstatement,” the official said.
“Ang PNP ang mismong magre-reinstate sa kanila, magre-restore into full duty status, subalit naroon pa rin sa kanila ang option kung nais nilang bumalik sa serbisyo,” he added.
(It is the PNP who will reinstate them or restore them into full duty status. However, the option is theirs, it still depends on them if they want to return to service.)
Before they can officially return, they need to go through training and reformation programs and tests such as drug tests, medical exams, and neuro-psychiatric tests.
Meanwhile, the PNP is considering placing a reward for the capture of the other suspects who remain at large in order to speed up the trial.
A total of 80 suspects went on hiding, 12 of them were policemen.
According to Banac, some of the accused are believed to have been receiving protection in their respective bailiwick which made it more difficult for the authorities to trace them.
PNP Officer in Charge Lt. General Archie Gamboa already ordered the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the PNP Intelligence Group and the PNP-BARMM to intensify their manhunt against the fugitives.
Authorities, meanwhile, do not believe that they have gone into exile abroad.
“We discount the possibility na sila ay nakalabas na sa bansa dahil tukoy naman sila at identified. May mga standing warrants of arrest sila. Mahirap na makalusot sa Bureau of Immigration (We discount the possibility that they already left for abroad because they are identified. They have standing warrants of arrest. It would be difficult for them to pass through the Bureau of immigration),” Banac said.
“Mas mabuti kung mapayapa na lamang siyang boluntaryong sumuko sa ating otoridad para po sa kanyang personal safety at security (Still it is best that they surrender to authorities for their personal safety and security),” he added.
Meanwhile, the PNP official said they are ready to provide security to the victims’ kin if they are receiving threats following the conviction of the Ampatuan Massacre criminals
“Ang lokal na PNP natin ay inatasan na ng Officer-in-Charge General Gamboa na bigyan ng assistance at makipag-ugnayan agad dun sa pamilya ng mga biktima para po mai-arrange natin ang mga security measures,” Banac assured.
(Our local PNP has been given orders by OIC Gamboa to provide assistance and coordinate with the families of the victims to arrange the necessary security measures.) – MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)
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