A NEW complainant reported to the Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group (IMEG) Visayas Field Unit the irregularities allegedly committed by the members of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Sawang Calero Police Station led by Staff Sergeant Celso Colita, who allegedly raped a woman from Minglanilla after his team arrested her early in March this year.
The new complainant is a 50-year-old businesswoman, who said that Colita’s team arrested her as she was suspected of being involved in the illegal drug trade, which she denied.
IMEG’s Maj. Alejandro Batobalonos said that on the night of March 26, 2021, six police officers, including Colita, allegedly entered the businesswoman’s house on M. Velez St. in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu city.
The house was searched as she was accused of being involved in illegal drugs; however, no contraband was found.
The police officers then looked for the businesswoman’s supposed drug money.
They allegedly forced the businesswoman to open the vault, but she told them that it was empty as her money (proceeds from legal activities) was already deposited in the bank.
Since the police officers failed to find any money, they allegedly stole the jewelry and expensive cell phones of the businesswoman.
The businesswoman was then taken to the Sawang Police Station, but she was not placed inside the detention cell. She was placed inside the secret room behind the police station, the same room where Colita’s team had placed the woman from Minglanilla earlier this month.
Batobalonos said inside the secret room of the police station, the businesswoman was forced to reveal where she kept her supposed drug money until she was tortured by the police.
The businesswoman identified six police officers.
Four of them were among the 11 police officers recently relieved by Police Regional Office 7 Director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo over the Minglanilla woman’s case, while the other two police officers are still assigned at the Sawang Police Station.
The businesswoman cried as she narrated to reporters what the police had done to her when she was taken to the police station.
She said her hands were tied and one of the police officers tried to choke her so she would confess where she kept her supposed drug money.
“They held me for four days. I have bruises. They tried to drown me. They also put a plastic bag on me,” she said in Cebuano.
The complainant was released only on Monday, March 29, after an order from the PRO 7 was served, relieving 11 personnel of the Sawang Calero police, including the chief, Maj. Eduard Sanchez, over the incident involving the woman from Minglanilla who was also illegally arrested by Colita’s team for her alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
The businesswoman admitted that she had used drugs with the son of a former Cebu vice governor.
She said her friendship with him could have triggered the Colita team’s suspicion.
She said she quit using illegal drugs as she had decided to reform her life and focus on her business, which is renting out her establishment in Guadalupe.
Criminal complaints of grave threats, robbery, grave coercion, violation of the anti-torture law and arbitrary detention will be filed by the IMEG against six police officers on Monday, April 5.
Batobalonos said the businesswoman’s ordeal was similar to what had happened to the woman from Minglanilla last March 9. The only difference was that the businesswoman was not raped.
Batobalonos revealed that the woman from Minglanilla denied she was still involved in illegal drugs, but she admitted that her jailed former live-in partner was the drug trafficker.
The IMEG believed that Colita’s team arrested her as it suspected her of continuing her ex-partner’s illegal business. (AYB / KAL)