‘Rubout’ cops used stolen van
MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Mar Roxas has ordered the filing of additional administrative cases against the policemen who used a stolen vehicle in transporting slain Ozamiz gang leader Ricky Cadavero and his henchman, Wilfredo Panogalinga Jr., to the Calabarzon police headquarters on the night they were shot dead by their police escorts.
“The vehicle they used had been stolen. It’s in the report (of Task Force San Pedro),” Roxas told the Inquirer on the sidelines of the relocation of informal settlers in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, on Monday.
Roxas was referring to the members of the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) of the Calabarzon police who brought Cadavero and Panogalinga to a court in Dasmarinas City after they were presented to the media in Camp Crame on July 15.
“Besides the criminal charges, administrative cases would be filed against them since they violated certain policies,” he said.
Senior Supt. Reuben Theordore Sindac, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, said the PNP Highway Patrol Group confirmed that the vehicle used in transporting the slain gang leaders was stolen from the Liberty Center on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City on Dec. 11, 2006.
“This violation was included in the fact-finding report submitted for resolution to PNP chief (Director General Alan Purisima),” Sindac told reporters.
He said the van was registered in the name of Roel Querrez and originally had the license plate WFJ-145.
“It was actually stolen while parked,” he said.
When it was used by the RSOG personnel, Sindac said the van had plate number WED-238.
He said the license plate did not appear on the list of missing vehicles of the police.
“It’s immaterial how the vehicle ended up in their possession. The fact remains that they used a stolen vehicle. This is another violation of existing rules and regulations of the PNP,” Sindac said.
In its initial report, the Calabarzon police said Cadavero and Panogalinga were being taken by the RSOG personnel to their headquarters in Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba City, when they supposedly tried to grab the firearms of their police escorts after armed men on three motorcycles open fired at them.
The police escorts claimed they were forced to shoot the two suspects.
A police fact-finding team created by Roxas and Purisima investigated the incident and found that Cadavero and Panogalinga may have been killed in a rubout.