Wash it out


With unusual speed, the Philippine National Police has concluded that the deaths of the Ozamiz Gang leader and his henchman last week were probably the result of a “rubout.” PNP Director General Alan Purisima said administrative charges have been filed against 14 policemen implicated in the extrajudicial killings, including a superintendent.

“I have already approved the precharge evaluation of those involved in the [Ricky] Cadavero and [Wilfredo] Panogalinga case because it appears in the investigation that there have been violations committed,” Purisima told reporters on Tuesday—or less than 24 hours after President Aquino highlighted the case in his fourth State of the Nation Address.

The President had devoted a paragraph to incidents that continue “to stain the honor of our police force.” (The official English translation of the Sona offers a somewhat more literary version of the ritual speech. The paragraph in question begins with: “There are still incidents that sully our police force’s honor.” In the rest of the quote, below, we follow a more colloquial reading.)

“We must all have heard about what happened to the members of the Ozamiz Gang, Ricky Cadavero and Wilfredo Panogalinga: They were arrested, but ended up dead. Like the investigation we conducted into what happened in Atimonan, we will make sure that those policemen or whoever were involved here will be made to answer—no matter how high their ranks are. Whoever are the masterminds here: Get ready. I am close to finding out who all of you are.”

The President’s language suggests that he had been recently briefed by Purisima or Interior Secretary Mar Roxas about the status of the internal investigation that the PNP conducted (which is separate from the inquiry launched by the National Bureau of Investigation, on orders of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima). It also suggests that he now considers the official response to the Jan. 6 incident in Atimonan, Quezon—the deliberate ambush at an improvised checkpoint of alleged leaders and protectors of an illegal gambling syndicate, resulting in 13 deaths—a benchmark to measure future inquiries by.

From the start, the Ozamiz Gang escape-try story raised suspicions. Only a few hours after being presented by both Roxas and Purisima at a Camp Crame news conference on July 15, Cadavero and Panogalinga were killed in San Pedro, Laguna. The police escorts claimed that the two had tried to grab their firearms, after their convoy came under attack from unknown motorcycle-riding gunmen.

Even before a witness came out (and sources inside Camp Crame began talking), the details of the story already seemed hard to credit. Why were the two criminals brought out of Camp Crame after the news conference by the same police escorts, when they were brought there precisely to be turned over to the Bureau of Correction? Why were they brought all the way to Laguna, when protocol dictates that the inquest proceedings take place in the Muntinlupa penitentiary?

Those questions tell us why the PNP has filed administrative charges against those implicated in the incident. In Purisima’s words, “there have been violations committed.” But if the witness who saw the police set up a barricade in San Pedro—which later turned out to be the exact spot where Cadavero and Panogalinga were killed—is telling the truth, then administrative charges are not enough. If the sources in Camp Crame who call for an investigation into the manner in which the van carrying the two criminals were hit by gunfire are telling the truth, that police firearms were used, then administrative charges cannot be enough.

The real question is: Why were the gang leader and his henchman, who had previously escaped but were recaptured only recently, killed after a high-profile news conference featuring no less than the chief of the PNP and his civilian boss?

The real sullying of the honor of our police force is done by those police officers who serve as protectors or partners of criminal syndicates. To wash out the Ozamiz Gang stain, multiple murder charges similar to those filed in the Atimonan 13 case must be brought against everyone involved—no matter how high their ranks are.

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  • cato_the_younger

    Finally, we have one police superintendent admitting wrongdoing. In the past, crimes like these were committed with impunity. Now, the PNP leadership should go to the next level and ask the question – “Why were the two alleged criminals executed?”. If police history is used as a basis, the next question would most likely be – “Who is/are the PNP officer/s that could get compromised when a trial of these two people were to happen?” Organized crime would most likely not fluorish in the PH without any police protectors. This is a good opportunity for the PNP to weed out the bad eggs in the police basket.

  • kayanatwo


    nobody asked me, but…when did the pnp chain of command actually help to prosecute in the court of law one of their own???…

    it has been the same old song and dance since the 1998 manila blackmail incident of 7 chinese suspected drug traffickers abduction for ransom money….still remember that folks??????

  • Philcruz

    These arrogant scalawags who have been spoiled and corrupted by previous Presidents sure are challenging the present one. Let’s see who wins this one.

  • just another human

    Going after the wrong gang leaders,the real crooks wear real uniforms and run the show.

  • vince_bugaboo

    Two human beings murdered by two or three policemen. All in all, 14 policemen are implicated, including a superintendent, meaning all are accomplices to murder.

    They should all be charged with murder and complicity to the murder, not administrative charges like stealing office paraphernalia.

  • tarikan

    Dapat wala ng mistah, mistah dito. Sobra ng abuso itong mga pmAers. Let the bell tolls for thee.

  • Boy_Paco

    Informal settlers are gold mines for PNP scalawags who can easily brainwash and manipulate those poverty stricken people who had no other choice in life once they are tapped by the PNP syndicate.
    Now as normal, it is not only minutes but hours before the crimes happen, that the Philippine policemen are already at the scene.

  • cry_freedom

    Police Officers who kill criminals in order for these criminals to not name these cops as part of the criminal syndicate are far, far worst than the slain criminals.

    These police officers should be offered to Josef Rudolf Mengele, on whom Mengele could perform any type of experiments on them, while they are alive.

    The death penalty wouldn’t suffice in relation to the gravity of these cops’ acts.

  • Fulpol

    who is the bigger and stronger force??

    hawak ni Purisima ang buong PNP.. kung may support ang kapulisan kay Purisima, pwede nilang biyakin ang kapangyarihan ng mga sangkot..

    pero laging may compromise.. “you want to avoid war, let’s negotiate”

    • Mamang Pulis

      kaya ba nya ang ARMM? kaya ba nya ang pulis ni ting ting?

  • Noel Noel Munro

    I will give Medal to Espino and to all PNP’s involved. Well done boys.

  • Simon Ward

    You’re just trying to live up to your name :) Good job :)

  • patawad

    That makes a lot of sense…retard.

  • Scorpio15

    Bagay na Bagay sa Pangalan mo Ijo na meron kang Sayad.

  • Mayu04

    why is inquirer allowing this kind of poser/poster . . . using a picture of a “special child” and using inappropriate name .. . hello?!!!

  • Paul

    guys…dont you get it….it’s a satirical retort meant to taunt. (i mean referring to I’m Yellow & I’m a Retard)…..i actually dont approve of the taunt but i see it as it is…

  • Red

    Your a sick person

  • Mayu04

    soooo sick

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