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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 14, 2007
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3 RMG men facing
probe restricted

A police captain and two police troopers of the 6th Regional Mobile Group were disarmed and restricted at Camp Aniceto Lacson in Victorias City, while an investigation of charges of alleged their maltreatment of a neophyte policeman is going on.

Senior Supt. Pedro Merced, 6th RMG director, yesterday said he has already ordered an investigation of Senior Inspector Melvin de la Cruz, PO2 Noel Paderan and PO1 Alfonso Arriola allegedly for hitting PO1 Laurence Mangco with a "paddle" in different parts of his body, on March 9.

Merced said the restriction of de la Cruz and two other RMG troopers at the police camp, will continue until the investigation is completed. The alleged maltreatment of Mangco which was indicated by hematomas in both of his legs, was reported to the Victorias City Police Station.

Mangco who was brought to the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay, was released after treatment.

Merced said he will not condone any maltreatment under his command.

Two years ago, 6th RMG officers signed a covenant denouncing hazing as part of the reception for incoming police troopers. This had been practiced during the days of the defunct Philippine Constabulary, but de la Cruz was not a signatory.

Initial police investigations show that de la Cruz may have been annoyed by the disrespectful attitude of Mangco, who called him "sarge (sergeant)" twice, although his rank is senior inspector, which is equivalent to captain in the military. Mangco claimed that on March 9, he was hit with a "wooden bat" by de la Cruz, with Arriola and Paderan holding his both hands at the police camp in Victorias City.

The complainant is part of the 100 new policemen dispatched by the Police Regional Office 6 to undergo re-orientation and physical conditioning at Camp Aniceto Lacson in Victorias City, in preparation for their deployment to various RMG companies in Negros Occidental.

Merced said de la Cruz, 6th RMG Operations officer, could have meted punishment against Mangco for being disrespectful to an immediate officer, in the form of physical exercises.

Western Visayas police director Wilfredo Dulay ordered Merced to submit investigation reports on the case of Mangco. Merced said he told de la Cruz " You have to defend yourself. Don't expect me to help you".

PO1 Wennie Espinosa Jr, son of Sipalay Judge Wennie Espinosa, had also experienced a similar treatment, while he was still assigned at the 6th RMG two years ago. The case led to the suspension of a police commissioned officer for 60 days without pay.

Merced said the 153 other new policemen undergoing Scout Ranger Orientation Course in Iloilo, will soon be incorporated with the RMG. This excludes the 110 policemen taking up Internal Security Operations Course in Santa Barbara, Iloilo, which is being supervised by the PNP Special Action Force.*GPB .

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