Cop who ‘coddled’ liquor bootlegger faces charges

(Photo Courtesy of Super Radyo Iloilo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon 

Another policeman is facing charges for a liquor ban-related offense.

Nope, Police Staff Sergeant Jose Digcabo-on Jr., a member of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) assigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (RPHAU), did not possess or sell liquor.

Instead, he is accused of trying to coddle a van driver who was caught transporting boxes of liquor at the quarantine control point (QCP) in Barangay Nanga, Guimbal, Iloilo around 4:40 p.m. of May 20, 2020.

Colonel Paul Kenneth Lucas, Iloilo police director, said Digcabo-on will face a slew of criminal and administrative cases.

“This is an unacceptable act. We cannot tolerate our personnel violating the law that we enforce,” Lucas said in a press statement.

Police accounts revealed that members of Guimbal Police Station manning the QCP flagged down a shuttle van driven by Leo Faldas, 47, a resident of Zone 4, Barangay Boulevard, Molo, Iloilo City.

Patrolman Boston asked Faldas to present his travel pass and IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) sticker. But the driver failed to present any of the two.

Boston then asked the driver to open the shuttle van but another motorist, who was later known as Digcabo-on, approached the duo.

He identified himself and told Boston, “Indi pagbuksi sarge kay iya na ka grupo.” (Don’t open sarge because it’s for the group).

But Boston stood his ground and did not heed the senior policeman’s plea.

They later found that the shuttle van was loaded with 60 boxes of Tanduay Rhum.

Both Digcabo-on and Faldas were arrested and detained at Guimbal Police Station.

While Iloilo City has lifted the ban on liquor after it was placed under general community quarantine, the selling, buying, and transporting of liquor is still prohibited in other areas of Western Visayas like the provinces of Iloilo and Antique.



Lucas assured that Digcabo-on will face the consequences of his actions.

“We have been firm in our enforcement of laws and this would not spare PNP members and any government employees,” Lucas said.

He added that intelligence monitoring will be enhanced to prevent the entry of contrabands like alcoholic beverages to the province.

Immediately after Digcabo-on’s arrest, the PRO-6 hierarchy claimed that the “rogue cop’s” arrest was part of its continued internal cleansing drive campaign.

“The PNP stands firm in punishing police officers who continue to challenge its internal cleansing efforts by immediately filing appropriate criminal and administrative charges against offenders,” the PRO-6 statement reads.

Due recognition and commendation are given to performing personnel who exemplify discipline and courage, especially to PNP personnel manning the checkpoint for immediately effecting arrest against the suspect and for confiscating the contraband.

Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, Western Visayas police, has also committed that the PRO-6 command would continuously do its mandate as frontliners in the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of the violator’s status.

A day before Digcabo-on’s arrest, Pamuspusan warned policemen who would continue to defy the liquor ban guidelines.

He made the warning as three Western Visayas policemen were criminally and administratively charged for violating the liquor ban while the region was placed the enhanced community quarantine.

Police Staff Sergeant Roy Panaguiton of Sebaste Police Station in Antique province; Police Corporal Arnie Luminario of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO); and Police Staff Sergeant Paul Pingoy, who is assigned at the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) based in Camp Delgado, Iloilo City were also relieved from their posts.