By Anthony S. Allada

SOFT-SPOKEN and straight-forward, this man is a kind of a leader whose actions speak louder than words. He speaks less and works more. He always means business in all his tasks and endeavors. Nothing more, nothing less. No wonder, he earned praises from his superiors and other officials.

I am actually referring to Senior Superintendent Gregorio Ramos Pimentel, the proud Ilocano who is the regional chief of the Highway Patrol Group 11.

Greg, as he is fondly called, is the man of the hour after he spearheaded in busting the biggest carnapping syndicate in Mindanao – the Baktin Carnapping Group — in a series of intensified anti-carnapping operations since last month.

The Baktin Group, headed by one Ryan Cain Yu, is now considered neutralized with the arrest of its key members and the surrender of Yu’s trusted aide. And Yu, even as he is still at large, is on the run now and is reported to be seeking refuge in Bangkok, Thailand was later traced to Madrid, Spain. In any case, the operation of the group is practically paralyzed.

There is something that makes Greg exceptional among other police or military officials. He is both a specialist on operation, investigation and intelligence. And he uses this expertise to lead successful major operations.

“I have been assigned to different fields in the police force and I gain knowledge from trainings and seminars,” the former member of the defunct Philippine Constabulary quips, adding “I find it very helpful in my work now that makes me very efficient and effective.”

Greg is not a typical official who claims credit alone in every accomplishment, saying “it’s always a team effort. I could not just do it alone.”

He does not mind putting his life into risk and gets several death threats from those big names and high-profile personalities he once dealt with accordingly.

“I am used to this since I was assigned in conflict-stricken area in the hinterlands of Basilan and Sulu provinces while I was a PC,” he said.

He was not just an anti-carnap buster but a crime buster himself because he can be considered the one who specializes in breaking up organized crime and pursuing prosecution for its members.

Not too colorful life

Even in his junior officer years, he is really a dedicated and result-oriented public servant. Such dedication in work even caused him to be locked in jail for one day after he was counter-charged over the RCBC Robbery Case where he led an operation that busted a big-time robbery syndicate that was involved in one of the branches of RCBC Bank in February 14, 1993. He was assigned at that time at the Regional Operation Center, in Recom 11, Davao City.

In one time of his police career that is still unknown for some, he was discharged from service after he was marked Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) in Region 4 when his original assignment was as staff officer of the Provincial Headquarters in South Cotabato in 1990.

Sir Greg had to contend himself from receiving no salary for more than a year and despite very low morale after he was dropped from the rolls, he did not lose hope and continued to appeal his case.

With the help of retired Gen. Gerry Gacayan, who was the PC deputy for operations at that time, his dismissal was later nullified after it was proven that he was dismissed in absentia.

His first assignment after graduating his Bachelor of Military Science at the Philippine Military Academy in 1985 was as junior officer of the Regional Special Action Regional Headquarters in Davao City from 1985 to 1986.

Later he was designated as executive officer/intelligence officer of 453 PC COY in General Santos City from 1986 to 1990.

A year later, he was the staff officer of the Provincial Headquarters in South Cotabato and later assigned with Regional Operation Center in Recom 11, Davao City.

In 1992 to 1997, he was absorbed as the deputy regional officer of the 12th Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit based in Cotabato City. From 1997 to 2003, he was transferred to Region 11 for the same position.

In July to September 2003, he was designated as Assistant Division Chief of Human Resources Doctrine Development of the CIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

It was after that stint that he got his first assignment as regional chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit in Region 9 based in Camp Batalla, Zamboanga City. He was there for about four years.

From investigation unit, he was absorbed in the intelligence unit when he was taken in as operation officer of the Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Office (MAPIO) under the Directorate for Intelligence (DI) of the Philippine National Police based in Camp Catitipan,  Davao City.

He rose to become MAPIO’s deputy area chief from February 2007 to September 2007 until he was the MAPIO chief from September 2007 to June 21, 2009.

From intelligence unit, he was then absorbed by the Highway Patrol Group after he was assigned as regional chief of HPG 11 from July 1, 2009 to July 21, 2010 and was later transferred to Region 10 based in Cagayan de Oro City until 2012.

He was back in Davao City for good. Just barely few months, he led the biggest operation in his life in busting the Baktin Carnapping Ring.

Busting organized groups, syndicates

Pimentel is one public servant who has feared no one. Even the notorious and terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group was not spared.

In May 22, 2002, he led an operation that resulted to the arrest of Nur Mohammad Omug, secretary general of Alharakatul Islamiya and top leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group. In almost the same occasion, Edwin Uy, considered the Public Enemy Number 1 in Mindanao and leader of a kidnap-for-ransom syndicate was nabbed by his group.

He also initiated the surrender of former PO1 Guillermo Wapile, who was charged in the killing of Pagadian City journalist Edgar Damalerio on May 13, 2002. Wapile was later sentenced by the court to life imprisonment.

In 2004, Pimentel and his men also arrested 34 members of the H-World Organization, an organized crime group operation in the entire Mindanao.

His group was also behind the neutralization of Hilarion del Rosario Santos III, top leader of the Raja Sulaiman Movement, affiliate group of the Abu Sayyaf Group involved in series of kidnapping and bombing incidents in Metro Manila and Mindanao areas. Seven other group members were also arrested at Cawasa Drive, San Jose, Zamboanga City on October 25, 2005.

In 2009, one Jam Idznafil, a leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Special Operation Group, who was facing a multiple charges for bombings in Mindanao and Metro Manila was also arrested.

One Charlie Lim, an alleged leader of a carnapping group, was also neutralized on September 23, 2010 in Butuan City.

Hector Estipona and Fahad Ali Mangdao, leaders of a motorcycle robbery syndicate were arrested by HPG 11 operatives in Cagayan de Oro City in 2011.

On October 7, 2011, Osmond Ray Dalugdog, one of the identified leaders of the Baktin Carnapping Group, was also arrested in Cagayan de Oro City. His arrest resulted to the recovery of 23 stolen motor vehicles in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and six others in Cagayan de Oro.

Awards, Schoolings, Trainings

The neutralization of big-time carnapper Dalugdog earned him an award, naming him as the Senior Police Officer of the Year of the HPG, which he received last May 2012 from former HPG director Leonardo Espina, who is now the director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

In 2004, he was also awarded Senior Police Officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He was also the Junior Police Officer in 1997 when he was still at CIDG. In 1986, he earned the Junior Police Officer award from the Philippine Constabulary, South Cotabato Provincial Command, South Cotabato Province.

With regards to his schoolings, he also obtained his Master in Public Administration (MPA) at the National College of Business and Arts in 2007.

He is a graduate of Directorial Staff Course, Public Safety Officers Senior Eexecutive Course (PSOSEC), Class 47-B 2003, Philippine Public Safety College, National Police College, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City, August 8, 2002 to June 19, 2003.

Pimentel also completed the Public Safety Officer Course (PSOAC) Class 30-2001, Philippine Public Safety College, National Police College, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City from August 20, 2001 to December 19, 2001.

He also went through the Basic Intelligence Course for Constabulary and INP Officers (BICCIO), Class 15, Intel Training Command, Camp Crame, Quizon City from July 27, 1990 to November 23, 1990.

Pimentel also took Scout Ranger Orientation Course, Special Counter-Insurgency Operation Training, Air to Ground Operation Course, PC/INP Officers Intel Orientation Seminar, Seminar on Search and Seizures, Counter Insurgency Trainors Course, Seminar on Economic and Cyber Crimes, Disaster Management Seminar, National Workshop on Safety Measures Against Bomb Threats and Effective Management of Post Blast Incidents, Case Management Intelligence System, Seminar on Writ of Amparo, Motorcycle Riding Course and Experience Riders Course.

He also underwent trainings here and abroad. They included the Basic Criminal Investigation conducted by United States Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigation Training and Assistance Program on April 12, 2004 to April 30, 2004 in PRO 7, Cebu City; Counter Terrorism Interview Techniques, UK Police Service and British Embassy; Honolulu Police Department Training of the Officers of the National Police College at Honolulu, Hawaii on May 22, 2003; Investigative Interviewing Course, British Metropolitan Police,; Major Case Management Course, Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Management of Serious Crimes, Australian Federal Police Academy, Canberra, Australia; Public and Media Relation; Senior Investigative Officer Course; Tactical Intelligence Analyst Course; and Workshop on Safety Measures against Bomb Threats and Effective Management of Post Blast Incidents.

Other side of him

While maintaining his being an operational officer at his best, he still finds time of visiting his farm in General Santos City. He describes himself as a weekend farmer. He sees to it that he can visit his palm oil farm once a week. This is the best time that he can unwind and relax from his busy six working days. If he has also other time, he rides his motor bike. He really enrolled to a learn the basic and the skills and techniques of driving motorcycles.

Pimentel also sees to it to be with his family on weekends. He prefers not to reveal the whereabouts of his family for security reasons. But he traces his roots from Ilocos Norte, although his family already lived somewhere in Pangasinan. His family is a distant relative of former President Fidel Ramos, whose family name happens to be his surname.

He is also a compliant of the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) where the PNP has been part of its realization. HPG 11 personnel are planting trees of various species in identified areas in the region and even expanding in General Santos City.

At 49, who knows this police officer who is due for promotion to earn his first general star elevates himself to be the country’s one of the top cops in the near future. And this is very possible. He is physically fit and doing a good job at the helm of HPG 11. (ASA)


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