PNP ready to answer POGO raid allegations in proper forum

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

July 3, 2023, 4:50 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)</em></p>

(PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday maintained that it observed the proper legal process in carrying out the raid against seven alleged POGO establishments in Las Piñas City last week.

In a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said securing a search warrant undergoes a series of processes before it can be implemented, including a judge’s evaluation.

She added that the PNP has complainants and witnesses in court for the case.

The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group is ready to answer at the proper forum if need be and emphasized that the operation is a legitimate one, Fajardo assured.

"So sana nga ay kung meron silang mga question ay dalhin nila sa proper forum. Ang nag commit naman ang ACG and other concerned PNP units ay ready naman sila sa mga possible na mga question with respect sa ginawang operation ng ACG (If they have questions, they can bring them to the proper forum. The ACG and other concerned PNP units are ready to answer their possible questions with respect to the operation conducted by the ACG)," Fajardo stressed.

There are allegations that the PNP did not observe proper procedures in going about the June 27 operation against Xinchuang Network Technologies, a POGO techno-hub in Barangay Almanza Uno.

Fajardo said the rescued victims cannot be brought to a police station as it would be too crowded for them.

Having the victims stay in the compound is the most humane thing to do for now while profiling and investigation are ongoing.

On the part of the over 1,200 foreign workers, Fajardo said they are being subjected to profiling in coordination with embassy representatives.

Reports said the processing and the release of the Filipino workers triggered the commotion on June 29 when 48 of the foreign workers attempted to escape by climbing the compound's wall with barbed wires.

Such an incident, according to the police, was the reason why 13 of the foreign workers were injured.

Fajardo said it will take a few more days before the profiling is done, adding that there are only 600 remaining foreigners.

The legal counsel of Xinchuang Technologies, Inc., lawyer Ananias Vargas, has already sent two letters to the PNP to request for impartial conduct of an investigation and the request for medical treatment of the 13 foreign workers who were injured during the reported escape try.

PNP chief information officer Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan said there were medical teams from the PNP and village health workers when the rescue operations were carried out.

“There is no need for a letter. Even without a letter, we will surely provide medical assistance because we value human rights. In fact, there’s human rights assistance desk in the area, manned by our personnel to ensure that basic human rights are respected and observed,” said Maranan.

Fajardo likewise denied the allegations that the police did not send medical staff for the injured foreigners.

Cases of human trafficking and violations of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 in relation to the raid have been filed by the PNP before the Department of Justice against Chinese nationals Li Jiacheng, Xiao Liu, Yan Jiayong, Duan Haozhuan, and LP Hongkun.

4 Chinese fugitives nabbed

Also on Monday, the PNP said four fugitives wanted in China were among those individuals placed under its custody shortly after the raid at seven illegal POGO establishments in Las Piñas last week.

"In the pursuit of justice and safeguarding public safety, the PNP continues its investigation into a POGO establishment in Las Piñas City, which was targeted due to suspected trafficking and cybercrime activities. During the documentation and profiling of the individuals who were rescued, it was discovered that four Chinese in the compound are fugitives from the law and wanted by Chinese authorities for engaging in criminal activities in China," PNP public information office head Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan said in a statement.

It can be recalled that during the anti-cybercrime raid in Clark, Pampanga months ago, the PNP apprehended around six foreign nationals involved in cybercrime activities. 

These fugitives were connected with the POGO establishment and were wanted for their participation in various criminal offenses.

"Given these developments, it is imperative to conduct thorough profiling of POGO employees in Las Piñas so that any wanted persons are prevented from working and hiding here in our country and ensure that all those working in the POGO industry are not involved in criminal activities," Maranan said.

He added the safety and security of both the local and foreign nationals are of paramount concern.

Maranan said the PNP remains dedicated to combating cybercrime and human trafficking activities embedded in the POGO industry.

"To ensure proper handling of the rescued victims, the PNP will complete the necessary documentation process and formalities before turning over these Chinese fugitives to the Chinese Embassy officials. This collaboration between law enforcement agencies is crucial in upholding justice and promoting international cooperation in addressing cross-border criminal activities," Maranan said

Additionally, he said the PNP categorically denies any allegations regarding the existence of a stray bullet victim within the compound. 

"Moreover, it is important to clarify that those who suffered minor injuries when they attempted to cross the high fence with barbed wire received immediate medical treatment from the PNP and  Las Piñas medical teams on standby since day one of the operations," Maranan said.
He also reminded the public to always rely only on verified information from credible sources.

"We appeal to individuals who are spreading unverified information to refrain from doing so, as it creates confusion among the public. Such actions can potentially lead to violation of existing laws. The PNP emphasizes the importance of responsible dissemination of information to the public," Maranan said. (PNA)