Cop in extortion try finally turns himself in
Refuses comment on charge he extorted money from NCRPO chief’s sonBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Six days after he disappeared when he was accused of trying to extort money from the son of the newly appointed Metro Manila police director, SPO4 Jose dela Peña surfaced Monday and voluntarily surrendered himself to his superiors at the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) headquarters.
However, the 47-year-old policeman who was accompanied by his lawyers Kristian Gargantiel and Gia San Jose remained mum on the allegations against him.
When asked repeatedly by reporters about the Sept. 4 incident, Dela Peña limited his answers to “No comment” or “I invoke my right to remain silent.”
He maintained a stoic expression all throughout his appearance, keeping his hands clasped as he refused to look at media men and cameras pointed in his direction.
According to Senior Superintendent Neri Ilagan, QCPD chief directorial staff, Dela Peña has been placed under restrictive custody at Camp Karingal to ensure that he would be available at any time for an investigation.
At the same time, the policeman was made to turn over his service firearm and badge to QCPD director Chief Superintendent Mario dela Vega who said the relief order against him and his partner, Police Officer 2 Resty del Rosario, would remain in effect.
Asked why it took six days for his client to turn himself in, Gargantiel said Dela Peña was scared.
“At first, he was afraid and did not know what to do or say. That is why he didn’t show up at first,” the lawyer told reporters.
Asked if the policeman told him anything about the supposed extort try, Gargantiel said: “That’s between me and my client.”
The lawyer also declined to comment on another extortion case involving the policeman which has been forwarded to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) as an administrative case. Gargantiel said he has yet to receive any notice regarding the case.
Dela Peña went into hiding after NCRPO director Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina’s 22-year-old son accused him of trying to extort money from him for allegedly engaging in phone sex which is not a crime.
His partner, Del Rosario, surfaced on Thursday after both were ordered relieved from the QCPD Mobile Patrol Unit and told to report to headquarters.
Dela Vega said the administrative case against Dela Peña would go on even as Espina’s son has yet to give his statement.
In the meantime, the policeman will be assigned to the Administrative Holding Unit on floating status pending the results of the investigation.