• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A councilor of La Castellana in Negros Occidental has been linked to a “police recruitment scam” that has victimized 45 local residents, who have collectively paid at least P15 million, as reported by Mayor Rhumyla Nicor Mangilimutan.
In a press briefing at the municipal hall, Mangilimutan said the victims paid amounts ranging from P247,000 to as much as P300,000 each, for them to enter the police service even if they are neither qualified nor eligible.
Among the victims, two are residents of Bacolod City, six are residents of Moises Padilla, and 37 are residents of La Castellana, according to Mangilimutan, a former police officer-turned politician.
PMaj. Nelson Amsiwen Jr., officer-in-charge of the La Castellana Police Station, in his letter to Mayor Mangilimutan, informed her that 41 complainants appeared at the police station and lodged a complaint against Councilor Donato Dumaguit, alias Nat Nat, and a certain Mary Jun delos Santos, who offered to facilitate their applications to the PNP in exchange for a certain amount of cash.
Based on the testimonies of witnesses, Mangilimutan said her investigations indicated that Dumaguit was accompanied by two policemen in collecting money from the PNP applicants.
Amsiwen said that they are now getting all the complaint affidavits of the victims, to ensure air tight cases against the accused persons.
While they already have the names of policemen linked to the scam, Amsiwen said they are conducting further investigations to determine their involvement.
In her letter to PBrig. Gen. Sidney Villaflor, regional police director of Western Visayas, Mangilimutan said she requested for intervention on the complaints of the victims. “The victims seek justice and redress for their grievous experience, and it is our collective duty to ensure that justice prevails,” the mayor stressed.
“I implore you to expedite the investigation process, deploying all necessary resources and expertise to uncover the truth behind these allegations,” Mangilimutan said.
Gary Marvel, 35, one of the victim-complainants, said he was able to pay an amount of P200,000 in three tranches, which he stressed, was personally received by Councilor Dumaguit, without any receipt.
Marvel, who applied on March this year, added that the amount he had paid was “package deal,” as he was assured that all the requirements will be taken care of, before the oathtaking and training.
Mangilimutan disclosed that some the complainants filed blotter reports with a police station in Bacolod but they were told by Dumaguit not to include him. The Bacolod police advised them to file the complaint in La Castellana where the crime was allegedly committed.
“My administration does not tolerate any illegal acts even if they are my relatives or political allies,” the mayor stressed, adding that Dumaguit even used a government vehicle in his transactions.
Based on the testimonies of the victims, they will have their oathtaking on July 2 in Kabankalan City, after paying P25,000 more for their board and lodging, as well as uniforms, Mangilimutan said.
Mangilimutan recalled that it was on April this year that she was informed by Mae Diamante of NAPOLCOM, on the collection of money by allegedly Dumaguit, for applicants to enter the PNP.
She was in the Netherlands then, but when she confronted Dumaguit, Mangilimutan said the councilor initially denied it. The mayor said Dumaguit also called her afterwards and asked her help to convince the complainants, not to implicate him.
Mangilimutan, however, said she told Dumaguit that she will not help him. She further stressed that Dumaguit is up against the police organization, which she used to serve.
“It is the integrity of the PNP application that you have destroyed,” that mayor told Dumaguit.*