Party-list lawmaker claims death threat from cop
MANILA, Philippines—Rep. Arnel Ty of the LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA) party-list group in the House of Representatives has received a death threat from a high-ranking police officer believed to be coddling unscrupulous refillers of liquefied petroleum gas, according to a statement issued by his chief of staff on Monday.
“We wish to put on record that Congressman Arnel Ty and his family received what we consider a potential death threat,” said lawyer Miguel Ponce Jr.
“The threat emanated from a high-level police officer said to be extending Mafia-like protective cover to a shady LPG refilling station that became the subject of a court-issued search warrant for fraudulent practices,” Ponce said.
Ponce said Ty already filed a complaint against the police official with Philippine National Police Chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome for obstruction of justice, unjust vexation and violations of the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Ty has been consistently fighting to suppress unfair LPG trade practices, including rampant short-filling and the spread of substandard cylinders that endanger public safety.
Although Ty did not name the erring officer in his statement, Bartolome has removed Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Senior Supt. Rhodel Sermonia from his post, citing the complaint filed by Ty’s office.
Ponce said that Sermonia was among the 20 CIDG officers sacked by Bartolome last week after they were linked to a series of irregularities and illegal activities. All officers are now facing administrative charges.
“The congressman fears not so much for his personal security, but for the safety of his family. Besides, the officer who made the threat has control over a large group of armed men due to his high position in the force,” Ponce said.
Ty is married to a niece of Jacinto Ng Sr., founder of Republic Biscuit Corp. (Rebisco) and Asia United Bank Corp.
Ponce said Sermonia, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, intervened and tried to prevent agents of the CIDG’s Anti-Fraud Division from serving a search warrant on an illegal refilling station in Valenzuela City on March 23.
When told that Ty’s anti-fraud lawyers had helped secure the warrant, Sermonia reportedly uttered the following apparently threatening words: “Papatrabaho ko rin ’yan si Ty (Ty will be next).”
Ponce said Ty’s colleagues in the House have advised him not to take the threat lightly, citing a previous attempt on the life of Rep. Ranulfo Canonigo, who was attacked by armed men just outside his Marikina City home in December. Canonigo sustained three gunshot wounds, but survived.
Canonigo, who represents the sectoral party Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala (KAKUSA) in Congress, had previously received but ignored a text message that went: “Congressman mag-ingat ka. Tutuluyan ka namin (Be cautious, Congressman. We will finish you.)”
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