COPS RAID QUEZON CITY NIGHTCLUBS

QUEZON CITY, September 17, 2003 (STAR) By Christina Mendez  - Hours after President Arroyo barred police officers from entering night spots and bars, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane personally led an "inspection" of two popular nightclubs in Quezon City the other night.

Ebdane said the inspection of the Classmate nightclub and the Mystique KTV bar along Quezon Avenue should serve as warning to cops who use the clubs as hangouts.

Ebdane was accompanied by other top police officials, including Metro police chief Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco, Directorate for Operations chief Director Enrique Galang, acting chief of the Directorial Staff and concurrent community relations chief Director Ricardo de Leon, and PNP comptroller Chief Superintendent Oscar Calderon.

Ebdaneís team arrived in full force with a convoy of mobile patrol cars, including members of the Quezon City SWAT team and the Special Action Force, all of them brandishing M-16 and Baby Armalite rifles.

The team swooped down on the two nightclubs, but found almost empty lounges with only a handful clients.

At Classmate, a big videoke screen at the lounge was showing classical music video of a violin artist and a pianist, and not the footage of sexy women clad in provocative attire.

Ebdane said the raids may have given the clubs undue publicity, but it will surely shoo away regular clients from the police force.

"Mukhang mali itong ginagawa. Lalong sisikat. Pero matatakot na pumunta dito ang mga pulis," the PNP chief said.

At Mystique, the police found several bottles of liquor bearing the name and rank of clients. Among the labels found were that of Col. Vero, Col. Ruiz, Col. Sosa, Capt. Popoy, Capt. Taniel, Capt. Reyes, Sgt. Caballos, Sgt. Samson and Sgt. Dinna.

The said police officials would be subjected to investigation and surveillance, Ebdane said.

Club owners decry surprise inspection By Katherine Adraneda (Star 09/17/2003)

The Association of Club, Karaoke, and Disco Owners (ACKDO) in Quezon City yesterday cried foul over the raids conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against tow nightclubs Monday night, saying lawmen should keep watch on robbery gangs instead of spying on their colleagues.

In an interview with The STAR, ACKDO spokesman Perry Mariano said raids and inspections will not stop robbers from carrying out their illegal activity, and will only harm the business of the amusement industry in the city.

"It (raid) created a dent in the business because it somehow sowed alarm among our customers," Mariano said.

The raid was made following a news report that the Classmate nightclub, tagged as a hangout for cops, was recently robbed by a group of armed men.

"Raids will not solve anything. I think what they did is not relevant to the alleged hold-up. The issue here is robbery, not about policemen hanging out at the clubs. Bakit ang pulis manghuhuli ng pulis? Bakit hindi hulihin ng pulis ang mga holdaper?"

Nevertheless, Mariano supported the governmentís plan to conduct a "nightlife check" on policemen and government officials.

However, he expressed reservation on the extent of the proposed investigation as he pointed out that even policemen have the constitutional right to have fun at nightspots.

"I think there is nothing wrong about a policeman having fun at nightclubs," he said. "Whatís bad about that if they can pay for their drinks and if they are off-duty when they go to these places?"

He added the presence of policemen at clubs may even serve as deterrent against robbers.

Meanwhile, Central Police District (CPD) Director Chief Superintendent Napoleon Castro warned his men against entering nightclubs as he reiterated his earlier order for his policemen to avoid entering nightspots.

Castro told The STAR that if CPD cops insist on going to these establishments, "they had better make sure I donít catch them."

"Go there at your own risk," Castro said.

CPD Station 10 Commander Police Supt. Cesar Hawthorns Binag insisted there was never a robbery inside Classmate.

Earlier, Binag pointed out that what was reported to them was a hold-up in front of the nightclub involving a staff in the early morning of Aug. 31.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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