TEN police officers assigned at the Sawang Calero Police Station in Cebu City were relieved from their posts after they allegedly robbed a 35-year-old woman suspected of being engaged in drug trafficking early this month.
The team leader was also accused of raping the woman, a resident of a subdivision in Barangay Tungkil, Minglanilla.
The woman’s arrest was reportedly not logged in the police blotter.
Criminal complaints were filed against them before the prosecutors. The police officers are also facing an internal investigation, and they will be dismissed from the service if they are proven guilty.
Accused of wrongdoing are Chief Master Sergeant Eric Edgar Emia; Staff Sergeants Celso Colita, Joseph Alcoseba and Michael Rhey Cabizares; and Corporals Rochelito Mabulay, Emmanuel Martinez, Carlo Irizari, Junel Pedroza, John Carl Aceron and Georny Abrasado.
They were members of the Sawang Calero Police Station’s drug enforcement unit. They are now assigned in the holding unit of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 headquarters pending the result of the internal investigation, and their government-issued firearms were confiscated.
Complaints of grave coercion, grave threats and robbery were filed against the 10 police officers.
Colita is facing two counts of rape, according to PRO 7 Director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo.
Maj. Eduard Sanchez was relieved as the Sawang Calero Police Station chief as he allegedly failed to supervise his personnel, said Col. Josefino Ligan, director of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
Maj. Erano Regidor, CCPO information officer, replaced Sanchez, who is now assigned at the CCPO headquarters while facing an investigation.
At 9 p.m, March 9, 2021, Colita’s group implemented a search warrant at the woman’s residence as the officers had been informed about the woman’s involvement in the illegal drug trade and her ownership of an unlicensed firearm.
On March 10, the woman was taken to the Sawang Calero Police Station. She was placed in a room, and her arrest was reportedly not recorded in the blotter.
Around 1 p.m. on the same day, Colita’s group took the woman to a bank’s automated teller machine. She was allegedly forced to withdraw P170,000 from her account.
At 2:45 p.m, Colita took the woman to a motel in Barangay Mambaling where he allegedly raped her, and they later returned to the police station at 5 p.m.
The woman was released at 5 p.m. on March 11. Colita instructed his subordinates to take her to her house in Tungkil. When they arrived at the subdivision, they dropped off the woman at the guard house.
The woman reported her ordeal to the Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group (IMEG) Visayas Field Unit, a police group tasked to monitor erring cops.
The IMEG immediately conducted its investigation led by Maj. Alejandro Batobalonos, and when it was confirmed that the victim’s claims were true, complaints were filed against the 10 police officers.
Montejo said he was disappointed by his personnel’s actions, adding that they must face the consequences if they are proven guilty. (AYB / KAL)