THREE policemen in San Fernando were relieved of their duties and their firearms were recalled after a woman accused them of raping her inside the police station.
The three policemen, however, are set to file countercharges against the woman and her mother.
Police Col. Engelbert Soriano, Cebu Police Provincial Office officer-in-charge, said Monday, May 10, 2021, they have evidence to prove that the three policemen were not in the station at the time that the alleged rape happened because they were instructed to respond to an incident.
Investigation also showed that it was not the first time that the woman lodged such a complaint. She had also accused other policemen from other police stations of rape, Soriano added.
Police Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, director of Central Visayas Police Regional Office (PRO 7), said he noted inconsistencies in the woman’s statements.
Nonetheless, Montejo said he immediately ordered the relief of the three policemen and placed them under restrictive custody, a disciplinary measure that confines policemen accused of wrongdoing within the camp while an investigation is being conducted.
“Police Maj. Alejandro Batobalonos called me last night about this report, so I immediately directed the provincial director, Police Col. Soriano, to disarm these police officers and place them under restrictive custody,” Montejo said.
He did not identify the three policemen pending the results of the investigation.
The woman, name withheld, alleged that the three policemen raped her when she went to visit the police station in San Fernando at around 8 p.m. Saturday, May 8, 2021. The reason for her visit was not clear.
She was accompanied by her mother when she filed her complaint before the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (Imeg) Visayas Field Unit of the Philippine National Police.
Soriano said the records of the San Fernando Police Station showed that the three policemen were not in the station at the time specified by the woman because they were responding to a road crash.
They returned to the station only after several hours, Soriano said.
“That’s why our men in San Fernando decided that they will file countercharges. Their activities that night were well documented,” Soriano said.
“They were instructed by Police Maj. Janus Giangan, their chief of police, to respond to an incident within their area of responsibility,” he added.
As news about the woman’s allegations spread, Soriano said they learned that the woman had made similar allegations against other policemen.
“We looked into the veracity of the woman’s complaint, and we learned that she had filed the same complaint against policemen in other police stations,” Soriano said.
“We are wondering what made her accuse these three policemen of rape,” he added.
He said, however, that they have yet to verify the reports on the filing of similar complaints in other police stations.
Montejo said administrative and criminal cases would be filed against the three policemen if probable cause is found to charge them.
An officer found guilty of the charges faces dismissal from the service.
This is the second known rape complaint lodged against police officers in the region in less than two months.
In March, a woman accused a police officer in Cebu City of raping her.
The complainant, Ritchie Nepomuceno, was gunned down on April 19. Police Staff Sgt. Celso Colita, who was accused by Nepomuceno of rape, shot himself in the head shortly after Nepomuceno was shot dead.
Colita was among 11 policemen from the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Sawang Calero police station who allegedly raided Nepomuceno’s house in March and extorted P170,000 from her.
All 11 policemen were relieved and also placed under restrictive custody. (AYB)