MANILA – The police officer who had been charged with firing his handgun during a confrontation with another customer in a bar in Quezon City will remain in the service, pending the decision of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on his appeal for an earlier case, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.
PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo, in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City, said the DILG is still processing the second appeal made by Lt. Col. Mark Julio Abong after the police force's Regional Appellate Board (RAB) denied his first plea and affirmed the Quezon City People's Law Enforcement Board (QC PLEB) ruling concerning his dismissal.
In March, the PLEB ordered Abong's dismissal from the service after he was found guilty of multiple charges stemming from a hit-and-run case in August 2022 that killed a tricycle driver and injured his passenger.
"Although the PLEB released its first decision last March, we could not execute this immediately because Lt. Col. Abong was able to file a timely appeal before the RAB," Fajardo told reporters.
The PLEB said Abong was found guilty "for the grave offenses of misconduct, grave neglect of duty, and conduct of unbecoming a police officer with aggravating circumstances of employment of fraudulent means to conceal an offense."
"He filed a timely appeal for the Office of the Secretary of Interior and Local Government (SILG). On the part of the PNP, we cannot issue any implementing orders until the process is completed," Fajardo said.
QC-PLEB executive officer, lawyer Rafael Calinisan, earlier said although the police officer filed an appeal, the decision of the board is still "final and executory" as stated in Republic Act (RA) 6975 or the DILG Act of 1990; RA 8551 or the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998; and National Police Commission Circulars 2016-002, and 2019-005.
Fajardo, however, said only three bodies have summary dismissal powers – the PNP chief, regional police directors, and the National Police Commission director.
“Hindi po kasama ang PLEB (PLEB is not included). With due respect to the PLEB. That’s why they themselves recognized the authority of the RAB on the appeal based on a letter in May 2023," she explained.
On Monday, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said Abong was slapped with charges of illegal discharge of firearms, alarm and scandal, and violating the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act in relation to the Omnibus Election code, as well as physical injury and slander by deed.
The QCPD filed the formal complaints before the city's prosecutor's office on Sunday, shortly after Abong was arrested.
As for the firing incident, Fajardo said the director of the PNP Legal Service endorsed an administrative case against Abong before the Internal Affairs Service.
Abong, who is assigned to the Legal Service of the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, grabbed a waiter by his necktie and argued with a customer outside the establishment in Barangay Laging Handa, according to the police report.
The establishment’s manager said Abong fired his handgun twice outside. (PNA)