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San Juan, Manila cops face-off over suspects

Members of the San Juan and Manila police on Tuesday engaged in a   tug-of-war over custody of two arrested  members of a suspected drug syndicate.

The  anti-drug unit of the San Juan police, headed by Chief Inspector Hoover Pascual, arrested Leah Sarip, 32, and Norie Mohammad, 35, in a buy-bust operation at a parking lot of a food chain along N. Domingo St., at about   7 p.m.   Tuesday.

When Sarip and Mohammad were brought to the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs  office, a team from the  Manila Police District (Station 3 composed of Chief Inspector John Guiagui, SPO2 Rosendo Ascano, SPO1 Herbert Salazar, and PO3 Rodolfo Mayo), all in civilian clothes, arrived and claimed that the duo were also their target.

The Manila and San Juan policemen   had  a heated argument on   who   among them would take custody of the suspects.

Eastern Police District director Senior Superintendent Elmer Jamias said the incident was a product of a miscommunication and could have been settled before the situation worsened.

“There was a miscommunication somewhere. Everything was settled after both sides heard each other’s side  of  the issue,” said Jamias in an interview.

“Unknown to both parties, they have the same personalities who were the subject of police surveillance,” said Senior Superintendent Ariel Arcinas, San Juan police chief, in his report to Jamias.

Informed of the situation, Arcinas said that elements of the Police Community Precinct 5 and the Special Reaction Unit  went  to the SAID office to intervene and settle the row.

Arcinas said the four Manila policemen were brought to the San Juan police station for verification purposes.  

The San Juan chief ordered the Manila policemen released but not before lecturing them on  the standard operating procedure of the Philippine National Police which was to coordinate first before conducting operations outside their jurisdiction.

Arcinas ordered the filing of drug pushing charges before the city prosecutor’s office against Sarip and Muhammad, who are detained at the San Juan police detention center.

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