GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The Police Regional Office (PRO)-12 (Soccksargen) has relieved 14 police personnel in connection with the ongoing investigation into the nearly PHP2-billion investment scam here.
Lt. Col. Aldrin Gonzales, PRO-12 public information officer, said Wednesday the relieved personnel who were named as allegedly involved in the Ponzi-like investment scheme dubbed Pulis Paluwagan Movement (PPM).
He said the relief order was issued by PRO-12 regional director Brig. Gen. Eliseo Tam Rasco.
Relieved were deputy city police director, Lt. Col. Henry Biñas, Senior Master Sgt. Marigold Aranas, Master Sgt. Dervin Baluran, Master Sgt. Francis Gee Caravalle, Master Sgt. Roderick Ringon, Staff Sgt. Joemar Abella, Staff Sgt. Roger Agodania, Staff Sgt. Jeannette Dosdos, Cpl. Rhodora Bombita, Cpl. Richelle Reyes, Cpl. Joy Butchie Mae Caravalle, Cpl. Daisy Babe Javierto, Patrolman (Pat) Kristin Buta and Patrolman Venus Amor Velasco.
"They were transferred to the RPHAU (regional police holding and accounting unit) while the investigation is being conducted," he told reporters.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde relieved on Monday the chief of the PRO-12 directorial staff, Col. Manuel Lukban Jr., and city police director, Col. Raul Supiter in line with the investigation into the PPM.
The two were transferred to the police holding and accounting unit of the Directorate for Personnel Records and Management in Camp Crame.
"This is a standard operating procedure to prevent them from influencing the investigation in any way and make it transparent," Gonzales said.
He assured that the investigation into the PPM, which is spearheaded by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-12, will be extensive and conducted in a fair manner.
The National Bureau of Investigation-Sarangani district office has also launched a separate investigation based on the complaints from civilian victims.
PPM, which started last year, allegedly had the approval of the involved police officials and even operated for some time at the city police headquarters in Camp Fermin Lira before it started to collapse last January.
Most of its recruits were policemen, who were lured into investing their money for interests of up to 120 percent a month.
Its alleged mastermind, who was identified as a certain Sheila Agustin, has since gone into hiding and is reportedly now out of the country.
In a statement released by law firm Yap, Bansiloy and Sanchez (YBS) here, it said Agustin "maintains her innocence and vehemently denies that she is the mastermind behind" the PPM.
YBS said their client "undertakes to return the capital investments, after due verification, of civilian personnel only, who directly deposited an amount to the account of our client, starting January 2019, provided there was no pay-out made yet."