Acorda to relieve Bacoor police chief

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

September 20, 2023, 5:10 pm

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. on Wednesday said he would order the relief of the chief of the Bacoor City police in Cavite after two police sergeants in the city were arrested for alleged extortion.

Arrested during the entrapment operation set up by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Tuesday morning in Barangay Molino were Senior Master Sgt. Joselito Bugay and Staff Sgt. Gregor Bautista.

In a press conference in Camp Crame, Acorda said his order to relieve Bacoor City police chief Lt. Col. Ruther Saquilayan, to be given within the day, is in line with the police force's one-strike policy and the principle of command responsibility.

Also apprehended was a civilian identified as John Louie de Leon while another suspect, Edralin Gawaran, head of the Bacoor City's Traffic Management Department, was able to evade arrest.

Recovered from the suspects were three firearms and various ammunition.

Acorda said the operation stemmed from a complaint from local transport leaders and the city government which said the suspects were demanding "grease money" in exchange for protection from any violation.

“It is estimated that they amassed around PHP1.5 million per month, with an average of PHP170,000 per transport group. The police officers allegedly used threats to coerce drivers and transport leaders into providing these payments, which were supposedly intended for officials of the Bacoor traffic management department and other individuals involved,” Acorda said.

In the same presser, CIDG chief Maj. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. said the victims sought the police's help as they could no longer keep up with the suspects' demands.

He said they were still identifying the other cohorts of the arrested suspects.

The suspects will be charged with robbery, illegal possession of firearms and violation of the Omnibus Election Code related to the gun ban.(PNA)