The Quezon City People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) has dismissed a policeman for grave misconduct and suspended another for less grave misconduct, Mayor Joy Belmonte announced.
In an eight-page decision in Administrative Case Number 16-008, the PLEB District V of Quezon City dismissed PO1 Michael Gragasin from service effective immediately after he was found guilty of grave misconduct for robbery/extortion.
The PLEB also found PO2 Alex Chocowen guilty of less grave misconduct for attempted extortion, suspending him for 51 days effective immediately.
“In just five months, the reorganized PLEB has made significant contributions to the city. May katapat na ang mga abusadong pulis dito sa lungsod,” said Belmonte, who recently reorganized and strengthened the PLEB in July 2020 through an Executive Order.
In the said order, Mayor Belmonte appointed new members of the PLEB and designated Atty. Rafael Calinisan as its Executive Officer.
Belmonte also commended Atty. Calinisan and the PLEB Board for acting on cases swiftly, without fear or favor.
“I am one with you in your collective vision to be the show window of the PLEB in the country,” Belmonte said, adding that PLEB is now approaching a “zero case backlog” status.
At the same time, Belmonte lauded new Quezon City police chief, PB/Gen Danilo Macerin for pledging support to PLEB’s effort to go after erring cops.
The case of Gragacin and Chocowen stemmed from the complaint and testimony of Rissa Natividad that she gave P30,000 to Gragasin for the immediate liberty of her brother, Mark Torres, who was arrested in front of a residential area in San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City on August 16, 2016.
Desperate to help her brother, Natividad agreed to Gragasin’s demand and handed him the money inside the Masambong Police Station. Gragasin also told Natividad that he would bring her to a hotel the following day, to which she agreed due to desperation.
While waiting for Gragasin at the police station the next day, Chocowen approached her and told her to give him P3,000 “so he won’t attend the hearing” and asked the woman if they can have a drink.
In its decision, the PLEB said it has “come into a firm belief and conclusion that in filing this case, complainant was solely prompted by her desire to seek justice and correct what is wrong in the law enforcement system.”
Since the extortion and the attempted extortion happened in the police station, the PLEB treated it as an “aggravating circumstance” in the imposition of the penalty against the respondent policemen.
“Bawal ang pasaway na pulis sa Quezon City. While we recognize that the police is our indispensable partner in maintaining peace and order, we will not shirk from our duty to make erring policemen accountable for their lawless acts,” Atty. Calinisan stressed.
“This is a thankless and dangerous job. We are just performing our civic duty to help the Filipino people. Pagod na kami sa dating sistema. We are doing our share towards nation-building,” Atty. Calinisan added.