‘Kotong’ cop still active after 7 casesBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Prior to his extortion attempt Tuesday night on a motorist who turned out to be the son of Metro Manila’s top cop, SPO4 Jose de la Peña had faced at least seven administrative complaints since 2006.
Of these cases, two were for grave misconduct related to robbery extortion, similar to the complaint he’s facing for allegedly preying on the 22-year-old son of Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina, the newly appointed director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
As of late Friday, De la Peña has yet to report to the Quezon City Police District’s (QCPD) Mobile Patrol Unit, following confirmation by the elder Espina that he demanded up to P20,000 from his son for supposedly engaging in “phone sex”—a noncrime—while in his parked car in Quezon City.
The extortion attempt was foiled when the younger Espina, before he could withdraw the money from an ATM machine, managed to get his father on his cell phone and handed it to De la Peña.
The QCPD has sent out a team to track De la Peña down. His alleged accomplice, PO2 Resty del Rosario, reported to superiors late Thursday to claim he was merely “following orders” and that it was only De la Peña who dealt with the extortion target.
Espina’s son has yet to file a formal complaint against the two policemen.
QCPD director Chief Supt. Mario de la Vega Friday said his men went to De la Peña’s known address in Quezon City on Thursday but the policeman was nowhere to be found.
“(The place) was already padlocked,” he said.
QCPD records showed that three of De la Peña’s seven cases were approved for summary dismissal hearings.
The latest case, one for grave misconduct, was forwarded in June to the NCRPO, now headed by Espina. It involved a business executive who complained that De la Peña tried to extort money from him and his girlfriend after the officer supposedly caught the couple necking inside a car on May 21 this year.
The policeman allegedly demanded P7,000 from the couple for committing grave scandal.
Another case undergoing summary dismissal proceedings involved the son-in-law of former Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson concerning an incident on Dec. 3, 2009, when De la Peña was still an SPO2.
The policeman then flagged down the vehicle of the lawmaker’s son-in-law, which bore the No. 8 license plate issued to House members. The complainant alleged that De la Peña was “arrogant, bullying and rude” to him before he finally let him go.
De la Peña was then relieved from the QCPD and transferred to the NCRPO in 2009 after this incident.
A third case approved for summary dismissal hearings in February 2011 involved De la Peña and four others, this time for failure to execute lawful orders.
Three other cases against De la Peña had been dropped and declared closed, while another case only ended up with him being admonished.
One of the dismissed cases involved a complaint forwarded by the office of then Quezon City Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista over a Dec. 5, 2007, incident.
The officer was then cited for being impolite or discourteous, an act classified as grave misconduct, but it was eventually junked after the investigation could not pinpoint who among the three De la Peñas in the QCPD at the time was the offender.
Another incident, on Sept. 4, 2007, had De la Peña and three rookie officers being accused of threatening and injuring a motorist on Katipunan Avenue. It was later dismissed for lack of probable cause.
On June 13 that same year, De la Peña was also charged with soliciting favors from a former Quezon City councilor who reportedly wrote to the then QCPD director asking for the policeman’s transfer from a community precinct to the Mobile Patrol Unit.
The case ended with De la Peña only being admonished by his superior.
In 2006, when De la Peña was still a PO3, his checkered track record began with a robbery extortion case which was also eventually dismissed for lack of merit.