The National Police Commission has been asked to place under 90-day preventive suspension the chief of police of Bislig City in Surigao del Sur pending investigation of the administrative charges filed against him for his alleged inaction on a request for police assistance to stop crimes, including failure to enforce election gun ban, from being committed inside the premises of PICOP Resources Inc.
In a complaint-affidavit filed before Napolcom on January 27, 2022, Francisco J. Buencamino, the court-appointed Rehabilitation Receiver of PICOP Resources Inc. and its affiliate, New Paper Industries Corporation, sought the suspension of Police Senior Supt. Michael Lozada, chief of police of Bislig City, and other unidentified cops to stop them from “potentially harassing witnesses” while the administrative case against them is being investigated.
PICOP Resources Inc., formerly Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, is a multi-billion-peso wood-based industry operating the only fully-integrated pulp and paper mill in the country.
Citing Rule 16, Section 1 of Memorandum Circular No. 2007-001, or the Uniform Rules of Procedure before the Administrative Disciplinary Authorities and Internal Affairs Services of the Philippine National Police, Buencamino asked Napolcom to hold Lozada and his direct superior, Caraga PNP Regional Director Chief Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., administratively liable for failing to act on the call for police assistance to prevent the commission of crimes and for defying a lawful order of the court.
In particular, the complainant accused Lozada and Caramat of neglect of duty, irregularities in the performance of duty, and misconduct or malfeasance for committing wrongful, improper or unlawful conduct motivated by premeditated intentional purpose.
“Because of the high position of respondent Lozada, there is a potential that he may unduly influence the witnesses. Hence, respondent Lozada must be placed under preventive suspension because of the severe gravity of the charges, and more importantly, to prevent him from potentially harassing witnesses,” the complaint stated.
The complaint against Lozada and Caramat stemmed from their alleged failure to act on Buencamino’s call for police assistance following incidents of unlawful entries by a group of persons that took place at PICOP Compound last month.
On January 20, 2022, around 1 p.m., Buencamino said there were unidentified people who went inside the PICOP Compound at Tabon, Bislig City, against the will of PICOP and its workers.
“These people forcibly dismantled and cut the properties of PICOP with intent to gain, particularly metal items for transportation,” he said.
On January 21, 2022, around 10:50 a.m., PICOP caretaker, Roel Quidiay Laguna, reported to the PNP Bislig City.
“The group successfully opened the gates around 1 p.m. but they were not able to enter the compound with their equipment because of the big round blocks previously placed in the entrance. The group left around 2 p.m.,” the complainant said.
According to the complainant, this incident prompted him to send an email to Lozada and Caramat requesting for police assistance to arrest the perpetrators, but he claimed the police officials “did not do anything.”