Two months after National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas became known to the public for his birthday celebration amid quarantine, the general is once again in the spotlight for allegedly harassing a family living on a disputed lot in Taguig.
On Saturday, July 18 at 4 p.m. Sinas and his men paid a visit to an old police compound at the Regional Direct Support Unit of the Philippine National Police, where a family of 10 currently resides and has been doing so since 2010.
The location was once the barracks of retired Police Executive Master Sgt. Arnel Delos Santos, a former member of the Regional Logistics Division. According to Delos Santos’ son, Arles, who posted about the incident on Facebook, it was not the first time cops came to their house trying to evict them. As early as March, the police have been “harassing” his family—that is his siblings, their wives and children—the younger Delos Santos said.
The retired police officer and his wife were in Bicol during the incident.
“Maya-maya, tumahol ang aso namin. Pagkatapos ay nakarinig na lang kami ng kalabog at sigaw sa labas ng bahay namin. Pagdungaw ko, nakita ko ang isang batalyon ng armadong kapulisan na binabaklas ang aming gate,” Delos Santos narrated in the post.
According to him, Debold, which he described as “matabang pulis,” was shouting all over the place.
He went on to narrate that he and his older brother Mike met with the police carrying documents to prove that their occupancy was legal.
“Ipinakita namin ng kapatid ko ’yung papeles namin dahil may pirma siya doon mismo na walang papeles ang PNP para gumamit ng lupa na ’to. Samantalang kami, kumpleto ng kopya ng titulo, certificate of occupancy at S.P.A. mula mismo sa may-ari,” he said.
The landowner he was referring to was a certain Deogenes Rodriguez, a descendant of Don Miguel Rodriguez, Don Petra Rodriguez and Gonzalo Rodriguez Yaneza, whose names supposedly appear on the land title.
Delos Santos said he and his brother, who appears to be in a wheelchair based on the videos uploaded, were speaking calmly and reasoning out with the police. There were a lot of cameras, he said, pointed at them as if to document their faces, so he pulled out his phone and took photos, too when a police officer grabbed it. “Ganoon kakapal ang mukha nila. Kaya nilang kuhanan ng litrato ang mga sibilyan na tulad namin pero sila na may kasamang SWAT at armado, hindi pwede?”
Moreover, Delos Santos said after he handed over a copy of their documents, the police refused to give it back and even took photos of it. When he asked for it back, an officer he recalled to be “Rodriguez” threatened to punch him.
“PNP, ganito ba? Palakasan na lang? Ibinebenta ng ilang mga opisyal ’yung mga lupa dito tapos sasabihin ninyong “government property” ’to?” Delos Santos said while also claiming that other police officials have erected personal properties, “big houses” in the area.
“May trauma na mga kapatid ko sa nangyayari dito sa amin. Gen. Sinas, takot ang dinala ninyo sa amin at ng isang batalyong kasama mo. Nakikipag-usap kami nang maayos pero dahas ang ibinibigay ninyo sa amin. Sibilyan kami at walang armas pero kung itrato niyo kami, akala mga kriminal.”
What did Sinas say?
Sinas did not release a statement about the alleged harassment until the following day, Sunday, July 19, in which he denied dismantling the gate as Delos Santos said.
He added that he and his troops were only inspecting the area, which will be converted into a quarantine facility for police officers, contrary to what the family told Rappler that the area will be vacated to build a high-rise condominium to house top officials.
According to Sinas, the area used to be part of what is called the Southern Sector, now the Southern Police District, where a motorpool building was once located along with a parking lot. At the time the elder Delos Santos was allowed to reside in the area as part of his duty to man the motorpool.
“However, it was made clear to him that after his retirement, sufficient time frame will be provided for him to vacate the premises considering that it is a government property. All the while he was cooperative and promised to be compliant with the agreement,” Sinas said.
Delos Santos retired in November 2018. The general added that the retired cop refused to cooperate with them regarding his family’s “illegal occupancy.”
Sinas added that instead of appearing himself to settle the issue, Delos Santos sent his relatives including his son who is a person with disability (Mike), who was mocked by a police officer later identified by Rappler as Public Information Office officer-in-charge Major Britz Estadilla.
Delos Santos’ kin, Sinas said, brought photocopies of documents instead of actual copies, which he called “questionable and incapable of being established.”
NCRPO will continue trying to reach out to the older Delos Santos to settle the matter, “with great appreciation to the service rendered by our former comrade,” said Sinas. Once his family agreed to vacate the lot, he said NCRPO leadership even offered to support their relocation.
Header photo screen captured from Arles Delos Santos’ Facebook post
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