Philippine National Police

Lodging fee in detention cells? PNP probes cops extorting from detainees

Jairo Bolledo

DISINFECTION. The Manila Police District disinfects their jails at the height of the pandemic.

Ben Nabong/ Rappler

PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar says there are reports that erring cops charge board and lodging, protection, and visitation fees

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Monday, September 6, ordered an investigation into allegations that some cops were extorting money from detainees under their custody.

In a statement, Eleazar said he received reports that these misbehaving cops were deliberately delaying the release of detainees to squeeze money from them.

Nakarating sa akin ang mga reklamo ng ating mga kababayan tungkol sa ‘di umano’y ilegal na aktibidad ng ilang tiwaling mga pulis kung saan sinasadyang patagalin ang pag-release ng mga detainees kahit may court order na upang pagkakitaan sa pamamagitan ng sinisingil na ‘board and lodging fee’, ‘protection fee’ at may ‘visitation fee’ pa,” the PNP chief said. 

(I received reports on the illegal activities of erring cops where they deliberately delaying the release of detainees even with court order to extort money from them through asking for board and lodging fee, protection fee, and visitation fee.)

Lodging fee in detention cells? PNP probes cops extorting from detainees

According to Eleazar, the errant police would allegedly reason out that they could not release the detainees despite being presented with court orders because they still needed to check if the detainees had other existing cases. 

However, according to the PNP chief, the background check on detainees must be done immediately after the arrest to determine if the arrested individual had other cases, and not during detainment. 

The PNP Integrity Monitoring Enforcement Group will lead the probe into this alleged illegal activity, according to Eleazar.

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In 2017, the Commission on Human Rights exposed another malpractice in detention cells manned by cops. Inside the Police Station 1 in Tondo, Manila, 12 individuals were illegally detained in a “lock-up cell” hidden behind a bookshelf. 

With the existence of Supreme Court policy to address the staggering jail congestion rate in the country, it was now encouraged for newly arrested individuals to stay inside police stations instead of being detained in jails. – 

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.