11 Cebu City cops face raps for ‘robbing’ woman; team leader accused of rape
CEBU CITY –– Eleven policemen assigned to a police station in this city face charges after they allegedly robbed a 35-year-old woman they arrested on accusations of keeping unlicensed firearms.
Complaints of robbery, arbitrary detention, grave coercion, and grave threats were filed against the 11 policemen at the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.
The team leader, Staff Sergeant Celso Colita, was also charged with two counts of rape for allegedly molesting the female victim inside a motel, according to Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7).
The 11 policemen were relieved from their posts while an internal investigation is being conducted.
“I’m really disappointed with what my co-police officers were accused of. But I will not tolerate any wrongdoing. They have to face the accusations hurled against them,” Montejo said.
“I appeal to all policemen, especially in Central Visayas, to serve as good examples to our community. We have to show the people what genuine service is,” he added.
Aside from Colita, also charged were Police Chief Master Sergeant Eric Edgar Emia; Staff Sergeants Joseph Alcoseba and Michael Rhey Cabizares; Police Corporals Emmanuel Martinez, Rochelito Mabulay, Ejill Ferrolino, Carlo Irizari, Junel Pedroza, John Carl Aceron, and Georny Abrasado—all of the Sawang Calero Police Station.
Major Eduard Sanchez, the chief of the Sawang Calero Police Station, was not charged but was relieved from his post for allegedly failing to supervise his personnel.
Major Erano Regidor replaced Sanchez.
Last March 9, around 9 p.m., Colita’s group reportedly implemented a search warrant at the woman’s residence in Barangay Tungkil, Minglanilla town, south Cebu for alleged possession of unlicensed firearms.
The female victim told investigators that the policemen, who did not have any search warrant, took her belongings, including her jewelry.
On March 10, the woman was taken to the Sawang Calero Police Station. Her arrest was not recorded in the blotter.
At 1 p.m. of the same day, Colita’s group brought the woman to a bank’s automated teller machine and was allegedly forced to withdraw P170,000 from her account.
At 2:45 p.m, Colita allegedly took the woman to a motel in Barangay Mambaling, where he raped her.
The victim was released at 5 p.m. on March 11.
The woman relayed the incident to the Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group (IMEG) Visayas Field Unit who has the mandate to monitor erring cops.
The IMEG, led by Major Alejandro Batobalonos, immediately conducted an investigation.
On Wednesday, Batobalonos said a couple came to his office to report a similar incident involving the policemen of the Sawang Calero Police Station.
According to the complainants, they were tortured by the same policemen who searched their house last week.
“The victims said the policemen took their cellular phones without any basis,” said Batobalonos, who has yet to reveal more details about the new complaint against the Sawang Calero police.
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