2 cops relieved over arrest of 2 call center agents


Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), ordered yesterday the relief of a precinct commander and another lawman in connection with the arrest of two call center agents in an anti-loitering campaign of the police.

Sacked were Senior Insp. Aaron Elago, commander of the Police Community Precinct 7 in Makati City; and, SPo2 James Teano, desk officer of the same police precinct.

“I have also directed the District Director of the Southern Police District to fast track the investigation regarding then issue which is now viral in the social media,” said Eleazar.

The relief stemmed from the social media post of a call center agent who said he and his friend were rounded up by police on Saturday while waiting for a friend in Makati City.

The cops told them that they just seek some answers on their presence in the area where a small group of local residents were arrested for having a drinking session along the street.

The call center agent then narrated his ordeal in the police station, especially when they were locked up in a detention facility. When they asked about the basis of their arrest, a cop reportedly showed them a video clip of President Duterte’s order against “tambay” and told them that the President’s words are laws.

Eleazar said the two relieved cops were instructed to be placed under the Holding Section of the Makati City Police pending the result of the investigation on possible abuse of discretion of authority.

“This is when they rounded up night idlers or ‘tambay’ in their respective area of responsibility and brought them to their police precinct for verification even without valid violation of City Ordinances,” said Eleazar.

Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario, director of the Southern Police District, said that while they support the President’s directive against loitering, he stressed that they will not tolerate abuses of their men.

“Policemen should only arrest those who will violate municipal or city ordinances such as urinating and drinking in public places, half-naked, making loud noise, and curfew of minors,” said Apolinario.

“However, the police can question any suspicious person loitering but not necessarily violating any specific above cited ordinance regarding their presence and business in the area. They should not be apprehended but instead be advised to be cautious or rather leave the area so as not to be victimized by lawless elements,” he added.

Apolinario said Elago will be replaced by Chief Insp. Romeo Vasquez.

Both Eleazar and Apolinario encouraged the public to report abuses by the police especially relating to the crackdown on loiterers.