Leader of Cebu City police team facing robbery, rape cases found dead
CEBU CITY—A policeman was found dead with a gunshot wound in the head inside the toilet of the police’s Regional Special Operations Group office in the city, some four hours after the woman who accused him of robbery and rape was gunned down.
SSgt. Celso Colita, who was named in the separate robbery and rape complaints filed by Ritchie Nepomuceno, died of a gunshot to the head, believed to be self-inflicted, around 9 p.m., according to Maj. Glenn Hife, chief of the police’s Regional Drug Enforcement Unit for Central Visayas.
“It was a case of suicide,” Hife said in an interview on Tuesday (April 20).
Some four hours earlier on Monday (April 19), Nepomuceno, 35, the woman who filed a robbery complaint against a team of 11 policemen led by Colita and a separate rape complaint against Colita, was gunned down on Natalio Bacalso Avenue here.
Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, head of the Central Visayas police, had ordered an investigation on the death of Colita and the killing of Nepomuceno to determine if these were connected.
Part of the investigation was meant to find out how Colita got hold of a gun when his service firearm was already taken by his superiors after he was relieved of his post at the Sawang Calero police station as a result of Nepomuceno’s complaints.
According to Hife, he interviewed Colita about the killing of Nepomuceno and his alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
Colita, he said, didn’t reply and instead asked permission to go to the toilet.
Hife said he later heard a gunshot and found Colita lying in a pool of blood inside the toilet.
Colita and 10 other policemen of the Sawang Calero police station had been restricted to camp for a month pending investigation of Nepomuceno’s complaints by the police’s Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group (IMEG).
They were facing charges of robbery, arbitrary detention, grave coercion and grave threats at the Cebu provincial prosecutor’s office for allegedly stealing Nepomuceno’s valuables when they raided the woman’s house on suspicion that Nepomuceno was keeping unlicensed firearms.
Colita, the police team leader, was also charged with two counts of rape for allegedly molesting Nepomuceno in a motel.
The 10 other policemen were:
• Chief MSgt. Eric Edgar Ernia
• SSgt. Joseph Alcoseba
• SSgt. Michael Rhey Cabizares
• Cpl. Emmanuel Martinez
• Cpl. Rochelito Mabulay
• Cpl. Ejill Ferrolino
• Cpl. Carlo Irizari
• Cpl. Junel Pedroza
• Cpl. John Carl Aceron, and
• Cpl. Georny Abrasado
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