Briones: An affair to remember

Publio J. Briones III

I SHOULDN’T be writing about this, considering that my grandparents hailed from the southern town of Argao, but it’s too salacious an issue to pass up.

I mean, it’s not every day that your police chief would be arrested for being in the same room with a detainee inside the station. But that’s exactly what happened to Maj. Ildefonso Miranda Jr. Thursday night, March 5, 2020.

Don’t get me wrong. The detainee is a woman. Let’s just make that clear. Her name is Jean Claudia de Guzman Villanueva. She’s in her 20s, a native of Barangay Casay in the neighboring town of Dalaguete. She was arrested in a drug bust in Barangay Langtad in Argao last August.

According to the SunStar Cebu report, he and Villanueva are lovers.

Before I continue, Miranda is single. At least, that was what he told Police Regional Office 7 Director Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro after his arrest. Also, he did not admit having any relationship with Villanueva.

And it’s not like the two were caught in flagrante delicto. They just happened to be in the same room. At 11:20 p.m.

Miranda was still wearing his blue athletic police uniform when personnel of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group Visayas Field Unit, the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division and the Regional Intelligence Division barged inside. So Villanueva happened to be on his bed. So what? Maybe she was tired. It was almost midnight, after all.

Anyway, they weren’t alone. Brenda Caminero Cutillar, 40, who is also detained for drug charges, was with them. Cutillar reportedly did errands for Miranda like cook and clean.

Still, Miranda, Ferro said, had committed an unlawful act because he let Villanueva and, I supposed, Cutillar, out of their cells, which was a violation under Article 156 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

But was Villanueva still behind bars?

She reportedly availed herself of the plea bargaining agreement during a trial in the Argao trial court, pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. In fact, the court issued an order allowing her to undergo rehabilitation in a Mandaue City facility last December yet.

But, according to Ferro, Miranda shouldn’t have taken advantage of arrested persons, especially one whom the former described as “beautiful.” Ferro’s word, not mine, by the way.

Well, of course, she would be attractive. Why else would Miranda risk his career and reputation? Although I’m not saying it’s not possible. To fall for someone who is homely, that is. I mean, stranger things have happened. Like a police chief getting caught inside the police station with a detainee in his bed.

And I don’t know about taking advantage. Have you also considered that maybe Miranda was just showing Villanueva respect? Maybe that was why he let her sleep in his quarters. I mean, that would explain why he took her out on dates at beach resorts and not at some sleazy motel. The weather has been dreadfully humid lately. Maybe, he didn’t want her to catch a cold.

After all, the guy was the former human rights officer of the Cebu Provincial Police Office. He must have been concerned for her well-being.

Meanwhile, the public should be thankful to the two police officers who blew the whistle on their superior. Because of their selfless act, they wouldn’t have to undergo investigation, unlike their other colleagues.