Bemedalled Manila cop accused of extortionBy Nancy C. Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A multi-awarded policeman has been accused of extortion by a street vendor who said that he could no longer tolerate the lawman’s abusive behavior.
“We lost our home because of him and now he took the watch of my brother and I could not let that pass,” Fernan Cultura, 32, told the Inquirer.
SPO3 James Pozo, desk officer of the Manila Police District’s General Assignments Section (MPD-GAS), identified the policeman being accused by Cultura as PO2 Rolando Castillo Amar, a member of the MPD Traffic Enforcement Unit.
Cultura said in his complaint which he filed in the MPD-GAS on Friday that the policeman has been extorting money from him since 2009.
“I am not his only victim. There are others but all of us fear him. We do not want to cross him,” he added.
Based on documents obtained by the Inquirer, Amar is a recipient of several police medals, one of which was awarded to him by now Philippine National Police chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome.
Amar received the Medalya ng Papuri from Bartolome in a ceremony at Bicutan, Taguig City, on April 27, 2011.
Pozo, meanwhile, said that robbery charges would be filed against the policeman.
“We immediately went to the Ermita area where Amar was last seen but he eluded us,” he added.
Cultura said that at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, he was selling his brother’s watch on Arquiza Street in Ermita when Amar arrived in the area on a motorcycle.
“He immediately grabbed the watch, ordered me to turn [out] my pockets and took my money despite my plea that it was my brother’s watch and he really needed the money,” he added.
Cultura said that Amar responded by punching him in the abdomen, cursing him and threatening him with his gun.
He explained that his brother, Reynaldo, a jeepney driver, had asked him to sell his watch because the former needed the money to redeem his driver’s license.
This was backed up by Reynaldo in a separate statement he gave to the police.
Cultura said that he sells watches, which he gets on a consignment basis from a trader in Divisoria, on the street.
According to him, Amar—whom he and other victims have tagged as “Boy Relos” because of his propensity for confiscating all the watches they sell—would then show up on his motorcycle, tell him that it’s prohibited to sell things on the street and order him to turn over all his merchandise and earnings.
He added that afterward, the policeman would punch him, swear at him and leave.
“He may have taken at least P80,000 from me [since 2009],” he said.