Director Leonardo Espina, chief of the National Capital Region Command (NCRPO), was stung by the report in this space on Saturday that three San Juan City policemen had arrested and detained a young housewife who committed no crime.
Espina has ordered SPO1 Pablo Selloriquez Jr., PO3 Erich Joel Temporal and PO3 Jayvin Pangilinan disarmed and reassigned to NCRPO headquarters while awaiting administrative charges to be filed against them.
The three barged into the house of Michaela Joy Reyes, a 23-year-old mother of two, in the wee hours of Friday and arrested her purportedly for drug pushing.
Reyes’ neighbors in Barangay Progreso, including its chair, Carmencita Sto. Domingo, have vouched for her innocence, saying no illegal drugs buy-bust ever took place as claimed by the cops.
“She has never been involved in any crime. She’s a law-abiding citizen,” said Sto. Domingo.
Reyes said the three cops also took P13,500 they found on top of her drawer.
The cops produced a sachet of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) they allegedly found on Reyes, but which was apparently planted evidence.
At the time of her arrest, Michaela Joy was naked from the waist up and was only wearing panties.
She claims she was mashed by the cops who tried to bring her to their precinct in her half-naked state.
Relatives and neighbors, however, asked the policemen to allow her to wear decent clothes before taking her in.
Selloriquez, Temporal and Pangilinan were in the neighborhood chasing a suspected robber who reportedly ran inside Reyes’ house and went out through the backdoor.
The suspect is not known to Reyes.
At the police station, the housewife was booked for drug pushing, with the sachet of shabu used as evidence by the three cops.
But on Monday morning, the three policemen filed cases of obstruction of justice, direct assault and physical injuries against Reyes in the San Juan Prosecutor’s Office.
A case for drug pushing, a very serious and nonbailable offense, was not filed for obvious reasons.
Question: Why didn’t the police chief of San Juan, Senior Supt. Bernard Tambaoan, order the woman’s immediate release after he learned that she was just framed by his men after an investigation found her innocent?
The NCRPO chief sent investigators to the Barangay Progreso neighborhood on Friday night after I called his attention to a possible frame-up of an innocent citizen.
Based on the testimony of Reyes’ neighbors, Espina’s probers reported that the young woman was, indeed, the victim of a frame-up.
Another question: Why didn’t the San Juan police file a case against its own men for planting evidence?
Framing innocent citizens on drug charges is punishable by life imprisonment.