BRIGADIER General Warren F. de Leon on Friday took over as the new director of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) with a commitment to further step up their campaign against “rogues in uniform” as ordered by PNP Chief General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr.
A member of PNP Academy (PNPA) Class 1993, de Leon will lead the PNP’s counter-intelligence effort to account for “misfits” and “scalawags” in the 226,000-strong police force “without fear or favor”.
The official said they will be going after active, retired, and dismissed police personnel regardless of their rank, position, and source of commission.
Before his designation as the new PNP-IMEG director, Brig. Gen. de Leon was the PNP Deputy Director for Intelligence. He also previously headed the PNP Intelligence Group in 2020. He replaced Brig. Gen. Samuel C. Nacion of PNPA Class 1992 who has been named as the new PNP Deputy Director for Investigation and Detective Management.
Shortly after he assumed his new post, de Leon announced the arrest of an active Police Master Sergeant, a member of the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO7), who is wanted for a robbery with a double homicide case.
In a report to Azurin, the official said that the wanted policeman was arrested by members of the IMEG Visayas Field Unit under Col. Alejandro Espiritu with the assistance of the PRO7 Regional Intelligence Division and the San Fernando Municipal Police Station in Cebu.
“We have arrested a wanted policeman in close coordination with PRO7 director, Brig. Gen. Roque Edgardo Vega,” de Leon said.
According to the official, his men arrested the suspect inside the PRO7 Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit inside Camp Osmeña in Cebu City.
De Leon said that the suspect is the subject of a warrant of arrest for a robbery with a double homicide case issued by Judge Joy Redoble of the Carcar City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 77 in Cebu.
No bail has been recommended for the temporary liberty of the accused, who is now under the custody of the IMEG-VFU.
Court records showed that the suspect was charged in connection with the death of couple Peter and Malou Baringui-an in San Fernando, Cebu, on February 13, 2022. The slain woman was a councilor of Barangay Balungag when he and her husband were shot dead while they were about to have dinner with their family and bodyguards inside their house in Bgy. Panadtaran.
At least five bonnet-wearing men armed with long firearms barged inside the victims’ residence and shot them without any provocation. Malou was aiming for a seat in San Fernando’s town council in the last May 9 election before she was killed.
Five policemen were later linked to the couple’s killing and charged with robbery with double homicide, said Brig. Gen. Vega. Four suspects were eventually accounted for by the PRO7 days after the killing.
During the investigation, one of the accused policemen tagged the suspect as one of their accomplices prompting Vega to place him under camp restriction pending the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him.
De Leon said he wants his men to account for more policemen who are already the subject of arrest warrants for various criminal offenses.
Last week, PNP-IMEG officers captured a dismissed police official wanted for a murder case and for allegedly heading a gun-for-hire group that has gained notoriety for targeting politicians and other wealthy persons in the Ilocos-Pangasinan region, a report to Azurin said.
The suspect was identified as ex-Police Lieutenant Colonel, the subject of a non-bailable warrant of arrest for murder issued by Judge Nyerson Dexter Tito Tualla of the San Fernando City RTC Br. 28 in La Union.
Members of the IMEG Luzon Field Unit headed by Col. Jeff E. Fanged tracked down the former police officer in his hiding place in Bgy. Legaspi in Tayug, Pangasinan, and placed him under arrest at 4:40 a.m. last Sunday.
The suspect yielded a PNP-issued 9mm Berreta semi-automatic pistol with three loaded magazines.