S.A.C.O.G in the making

LAOAG CITY — Ilocos Norte police provincial officials from Camp Capt. Valentin S. Juan here led by Senior Supt. Antonio Mendoza Jr. appeared in full force before the Sangguniang Panglalawigan here and presented the proposed creation of a Special Anti-Carnapping Operations Group (SACOG).

Colonel Mendoza, police provincial director, reported that they planned the creation of SACOG following the surge of carnapping incidents in Ilocos Norte this year.

Of the 120 cases of carnapped motor vehicles in 2014, at least 68 were reported in Laoag City, followed by other number of carnapping incidents in Batac City, San Nicolas and different towns, he said. (Specifically, the aforesaid carnapped vehicles probably refer to motorcycles only and don’t include cars, SUVs or van–Editor).

In last week’s committee hearing on peace and order held at the SP session hall at the provincial capitol, Laoag City, Colonel Mendoza told the SP members that under the SACOG, the police will have more power to run after the perpetrators engaged in stealing motorcycles as well as those dealers of stolen motorcycle spare parts.

Mendoza singled out one motorcycle dealer somewhere in Paoay town where lawmen raided recently the latter’s business shop for selling spare parts of allegedly stolen motorcycles. He briefly cited the issue of search warrant.

SP member lawyer DaVinci Crisostomo, chairman of the committee on peace and order, favored Mendoza’s argument. “I heard news that motorcycles are being stolen even these are (parked) inside the owners’ yard. (It indicates that) these criminals are getting bolder everyday,” he said.

It was learned that under the proposal, SACOG will become an integral unit of the Provincial Anti-Private Armed Group Task Force which was created last year through the initiative of Gov. Imee Marcos.

SACOG will request for assistance from the provincial government as it needs fund and equipment to effectively operate against carnappers, the proponent said.

“SACOG will focus on carnapping cases on 24-hour basis. One PNP desk manned by dedicated and competent staff will analyze and collate all information in coordination with all municipal police stations, the public safety company and the PNP Highway Patrol Group headed by Supt. Niego,” Mendoza explained.

The SP members said they will conduct further study and deliberation of this legislative matter in succeeding committee hearings to ensure that no legal violation will crop up in the creation of SACOG.

As this developed, some independent observers cautioned the SP members to be judicious in making their decision citing the issue of human rights violation.

It is paramount that no human rights abuses are committed when SACOG conducts search, arrest and seizure against any suspected lawless elements, the observers said. (tsg w/ ar-ga report)