MANILA — Senator Imee Marcos on Thursday hit the Philippine National Police (PNP) over its supposedly slow manner in handling the cases of sacked police officer Jonel Nuezca, whose killing of a mother and son in Tarlac was caught on video, and the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera.
Nuezca’s string of cases, including his refusal to undergo drug testing in 2014, was a clear proof that something was not really right about the police officer, Marcos said.
She also noted that Nuezca faced 2 “tokhang” cases and another disciplinary issue.
“Pinagtatakahan ko, bakit nakakalusot ang pulis na ganyan… 'Pag kadudaduda yung record ng isang pulis, 'di ba pini-freezer natin? ‘Di ba dati ganun? Hindi mo naman ‘yan isasabak… sa operation,” Marcos said during the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearing.
(I am wondering why we still have this kind of policeman. Aren't they being put on hold if their records are doubtful? Isn't this the practice in the past? You don't assign them... in operations.)
PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas told the Senate that the litigation of Nuezca’s 2 murder cases is still ongoing.
He said it took them a month to formally relieve Nuezca from service because of the process they have to follow.
“'Yong di siya nag-submit ng drug test, na-suspend po siya doon… Sinerve n'ya po yung suspension na ‘yun. Pagkatapos, nakabalik na po siya,” Sinas explained.
(On the case where he refused to get a drug test, he was suspended for that. He served the suspension, after which, he went back on duty.)
But Marcos noted the PNP's failure to subject Nuezca to a psychological exam even after committing those acts of misconduct.
Sinas responded that the police has a limited budget for their medical needs.
“Meron kaming annual check-up, pero at a certain age po, Ma’am, because yung annual medical check-up namin, kasama na yung sa... nasa 40 and above lang po…, yung stress debriefing ay hawak po yan ng Health Service namin,” the police chief said.
(We have an annual check-up, but it covers only up to a certain age. Our annual medical check-up... includes those aged 40 and above. The stress debriefing is handled by our Health Service.)
“Kung hindi po nahagilap ng MP (medical personnel) namin, at hindi po sinabi ng unit n'ya, Ma’am, baka hindi nga po siya na-stress debriefing during that time, lalo na kung noong time na yun hindi pa naman nagma-manifest yung symptoms ng mental disorder,” he added.
(Maybe Nuezca was not approached by our personnel, and maybe he did not undergo such because, during the time, his mental disorder has not manifested yet.)
Marcos also grilled Sinas regarding the PNP’s findings on Dacera’s controversial death last Jan. 1. Initially, the Makati police said the 23-year-old flight attendant died due to ruptured aortic aneurysm, and then later considered it to be a murder with rape case.
But a PNP medico-legal report dated Jan. 11 ruled out homicide and and said Dacera died of natural causes.
Sinas had ordered the relief of Makati City's police chief, 2 investigators and a medico legal officer of the Southern Police District over supposed lapses in handling the case.
“Ang Dacera case po, mayroon pong parallel investigation ang NBI at saka po sa amin. So nagse-share po ng information… Nag-create po kami ng SITG (special investigation task group.) Ongoing po yung follow-up nila. Kasi po yung result po kasi ng forensic ng mga liquid ay hindi pa po lumabas,” he said.
(There is a parallel investigation between the NBI and the PNP. So we exchange information. We already created an SITG and they are in constant follow-up because the result of the liquids are yet to be released.)
Marcos pointed out that during budget deliberations at the Senate, the PNP reported a “98 percent case closed” or crime solution statistics. She said she now doubts the accuracy of that claim.
"'Yun pala 'yung solution, parang ano ba 'yun, guni-guni lang, nagi-imbento lang ng solusyon kasi babaliktarin?” she asked.
(So that’s the solution? Was that just our imagination? We invent solutions and we reverse everything?)
Sinas said there is an ongoing investigation on the matter.
“How do we avoid this from happening again? Kung hindi lang 'yan na-eskandalo sa diyaryo at katakot-takot na Facebook (posts), aba’y nakalusot sana. Rape and murder na wala naman palang katibayan. Hindi naman maayos yung pagka-imbestiga. Maniniwala pa kaya kami diyan sa solution averages ninyo?” she said.
(So that means if it did not become hot in the news and on Facebook, then this would have gone unnoticed. it could have been rape and murder, despite lack of evidence. There was no proper investigation. You think we will still believe your solution rates?)
The police chief said the PNP is continuing in its reforms, which involves investigation if there are lapses.
There is also “transparency” for the people to see what they have been doing to improve the organization’s performance, he said.
“Maniwala po kayo, Ma’am. Kaya nga po, 'pag ganun Ma’am, kino-korek po namin ang sarili namin... at iniimbestigahan at inaaksyunan,” said Sinas, who, before being appointed as PNP chief, drew flak and was eventually charged over his May 8, 2020 pre-dawn birthday party violating quarantine violations while he was still chief of the National Capital Region Police Office.
“Naggawa na po kami ng pag-aaral kung paano namin maiiwasan ang ganung klaseng imbestigasyon,” he added.
(Believe us when we say we correct ourselves constantly and we launch an investigation and act on it. We already made a study on how to prevent those kinds of investigation.)
The PNP, according to Sinas, is now in the thick of reviewing its investigation procedure with the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, while the PNP Crime Laboratory has also adopted a “new normal” set-up.