Mulcting cops made general’s son cryBy Julie Aurelio, Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Just like any protective father, Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina had consistently reminded his children to avoid using their mobile phone while driving, obey traffic rules and watch out for criminals on the road.
But he apparently forgot to also warn them against crooks within the police force itself.
A visibly irked Espina, who was designated on Wednesday as the new director of the National Capital Police Region Office (NCRPO), Thursday recounted his son’s traumatic experience Tuesday night at the hands of two cops who allegedly tried to extort P20,000 from him for supposedly engaging in “phone sex” while behind the wheel.
The two policemen—Senior Police Officer 4 Jose de la Peña and Police Officer 3 Resty del Rosario of the Quezon City Police District’s Mobile Patrol Unit—are facing criminal and administrative charges.
De la Peña has yet to report for duty since the incident, while Del Rosario surfaced Thursday afternoon claiming it was only De la Peña who dealt with the younger Espina.
“As a father, of course I was very angry initially because my son was victimized by fellow policemen,” Espina told reporters at Camp Crame. “Despite this, I call on the public to still put their trust in us. We will do everything to go after these (kinds of policemen). We don’t want them to stay in the Philippine National Police.”
“(But) what angers me more is that it could have happened to anybody. That really infuriates me. It just so happened that this time, my son was the victim,” he said.
Espina, who headed the PNP Highway Patrol Group prior to his new post, said he had ordered QCPD director Chief Supt. Mario de la Vega to file the appropriate charges against De la Peña and Del Rosario.
According to Espina, his 22-year-old son parked his car near a school along Hemady Street in Barangay Mariana, Quezon City, at around 9 p.m. Tuesday to call a classmate whom he was supposed to meet at the nearby Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan.
Moments later, he said, the two policemen in a patrol car approached his son and accosted him for supposedly engaging in phone sex. De la Peña even warned him that what he was doing was a serious offense.
“Since it’s the first time he faced such a situation, my son did not know what to do. The policeman then asked P20,000 from him purportedly to avoid further embarrassment because the incident may come out in the media,” Espina said.
“When my son told De la Peña that he did not have that amount, the policeman lowered it to P10,000. De la Peña eventually asked for P5,000.”
Espina said De la Peña then ordered his son to move to the front passenger seat as the policeman took the wheel and drove the car to an automated teller machine (ATM) near Camp Crame.
He said his son had the chance to call him when he got off the car to withdraw money from the ATM.
“My son’s voice was cracking. I got really worried because he was already crying when he told me what just happened to him. So I immediately told him to get the policeman who accosted him on the phone,” he said.
During their brief conversation, Espina said De la Peña identified himself as “Policeman Joseph.”
“He asked me who I was. So I told him, ‘This is General Espina.’ But he suddenly hung up. My son said De la Peña immediately left him after I spoke on the phone.”
According to De la Vega, PO3 Del Rosario, who surfaced on Thursday afternoon, claimed that it was only De la Peña who dealt with the younger Espina.
“He said he was only following orders from De la Peña and that he remained in the patrol car while De la Peña boarded the complainant’s car,” De la Vega said.