Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa asked those who allegedly fell victim to sexual abuse at the hands of police officers to come forward and file cases against them.
A Rappler story detailed incidents of quarantine checkpoint officers demanding sexual favors from sex workers passing through.
Gen. Gamboa said filing a case would require statements from the victim, with the PNP ensuring the victim’s confidentiality in administrative proceedings.
The PNP said they formed an Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group in June 2019 “to conduct intelligence build-up and law enforcement operations against PNP personnel who are involved in any illegal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, financial crimes, cybercrime, malversation, graft and corrupt practices, security violations, and others.”
The PNP’s Internal Affairs Service will also “conduct inspection and audit of PNP personnel and units” of its own accord, according to its website and its charter.
“There must be available witnesses. But in these cases, it’s a crime that’s done privately between the accused and the victim. If the victim really doesn’t come out, unless we find very good circumstantial evidence, then that’s the only time we can pursue. Nevertheless we will look into it,” Gamboa said.
According to Rappler, policemen allowed both men and women to pass through checkpoints in exchange for sex.
Gamboa said the offense is punishable by at least 40 years in prison as well as dismissal from the service.
He encouraged victims to file complaints at the PNP’s Women and Children Protection Center.
PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the PNP has yet to receive a formal sexual abuse complaint against a police officer.
“This is what I can promise them: we will be confidential in terms of administrative, but when it comes to court, I cannot totally promise that she won’t have to be present in court because it might be vital for the prosecution of the case. We’ll look at our options,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa added that the national police does not tolerate abuse against women and “takes strong exception to the sweeping allegation of sexual abuse of women by police frontliners.” “I strongly urge those unnamed sources to immediately report to the PNP and to file charges against suspected wrongdoers,” he added