QC cop in extort scandal surrendersBy Jamie Marie Elona, Julie M. Aurelio
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–Senior Police Officer 4 Jose de la Pena, the other policeman tagged in the alleged P20,000 extortion try against the son of newly appointed National Capital Region Police Office director, Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina, has surrendered to authorities, radio reports said Monday.
Reports said de la Pena turned himself in at the Quezon District Police District Headquarters Monday afternoon, accompanied by his two lawyers.
He declined to grant interviews, invoking his right to remain silent.
De la Pena, along with Police Officer 2 Resty del Rosario, found themselves in hot water after they allegedly tried to extort money from Espina’s son who was accused of engaging in phone sex inside his car in Quezon City.
Del Rosario reported to duty on September 6, but put the blame on De la Pena, arguing that he only followed orders.
They were relieved and stripped of their firearms just shortly after the incident.
The policeman, his face expressionless, refused to look at cameras and media men, clasping his hands together.
De la Peña turned over his service firearm and badge to the QCPD director, Chief Superintedent Mario dela Vega, who said the relief order against de la Peña and del Rosario, his partner, would still be in effect.
But when asked repeatedly by reporters as to the Sept. 4 incident and if he knew del Rosario, Dela Peña only replied “No comment” and “I invoke my right to remain silent.”
De la Vega said the policeman has not yet given any statement to them regarding his alleged extort try on the son of the National Capital Region Police Office chief.
Gargantiel explained that there has been no formal complaint filed yet against his client.
As to why it took six days for de la Peña to report to the QCPD headquarters, Gargantiel said his client was afraid.
“At first, he was afraid and did not know what to do or say. That’s why he didn’t show up at first,” the lawyer said.
Asked if the policeman told him anything about the supposed extort try, Gargantiel said: “It’s between me and my client.”
The lawyer also declined to comment on a May 21 extortion incident also involving his client, which has been forwarded to the NCRPO as an administrative case. Gargantiel said he has not yet received any notice for this.
De la Peña went missing since last Tuesday night after Espina’s 22-year-old son alleged that the police officer tried to extort money on trumped up charges of phone sex, a non-violation under the country’s laws.
Del Rosario, his partner, surfaced on Thursday after de la Vega relieved them from the QCPD Mobile Patrol Unit and ordered them to return to work.
The younger policeman implicated his partner, claiming it was de la Peña who dealt with the general’s son the entire time.
De la Vega said the administrative case against de la Peña would proceed even as Espina’s son has not given his statement.
De la Peña will be assigned to the Administrative Holding Unit on floating status while the allegations against him are being investigated.
The QCPD director added that he has ordered the policeman’s salary to be withheld in the meantime.