CIDG-NCR chief, 12 men relieved for robbery-extortion
The chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police on Thursday said he had relieved 13 officers of its National Capital Region (NCR) unit pending an investigation of allegations that they robbed and extorted money from a group of Chinese and Filipino-Chinese businessmen recently.
CIDG director Police Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. said the 13 included CIDG-NCR chief Police Col. Hansel Marantan, who also submitted a courtesy resignation for command responsibility “maybe so as not to influence the investigation” of the charges against his men.
Caramat ordered the relief of Marantan, two other senior officials and 10 noncommissioned officers after he learned about the complaints of robbery-extortion from the businessmen in Parañaque City.
“The matter is being investigated by our investigation division,” Caramat said.
PNP deputy chief for administration Police Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia said a group of Chinese nationals visited his office to question a police operation conducted by the CIDG-NCR on March 13.
Based on the account of the Chinese nationals, a team of CIDG operatives showed up at one of their homes while they were playing mahjong supposedly in response to complaints from neighbors that they were noisy, he said.
“They started arresting those people and then allegedly, their offense was illegal gambling,” Sermonia told reporters.
The policemen allegedly seized two luxury watches—a Patek Philippe and a Richard Mille—other expensive jewelry, a Louis Vuitton bag and a vault with P3-million cash, according to the complainants.
Sermonia said 13 of the Chinese nationals were arrested and brought to the CIDG-NCR headquarters at Camp Crame, and “in exchange for their freedom, according to the complainants, they gave money to our operatives.”
He told reporters that the CIDG-NCR operatives allegedly extorted P10 million from the group.
PNP spokesperson Police Col. Jean Fajardo said that Marantan requested to be administratively relieved to give way to the ongoing probe.
No formal complaint has been filed by the victims against the CIDG-NCR personnel.
“The PNP chief immediately told me to conduct a thorough investigation and said if they had violations, they would be administratively and criminally charged,” Sermonia said.
Marantan had previously been involved in a number of controversial gun battles, including the 2013 bloodbath in Atimonan, Quezon province, that left 13 dead.
Marantan was the deputy intelligence chief of the Calabarzon regional police when he led the police operation, backed by soldiers, against alleged “jueteng” operator Vic Siman, who was among those killed on January 6, 2013.
Shootout or rubout?
According to Marantan, Siman’s group shot at the government troops when they were flagged down at a checkpoint.
The police claimed it was a shootout, but the National Bureau of Investigation said all indications showed the operation was a rubout and that the target was Siman.
In February 2010, Marantan, then head of the 415th Provincial Police Mobile Group, was involved in the deaths of eight suspected kidnappers.
Like the firefight in Atimonan, the clash also occurred at a checkpoint manned by Marantan’s men and Army soldiers in Candelaria town in Quezon.
In December 2008, he was also involved in another police operation against a robbery group in Parañaque City that left 16 people dead, including a migrant worker and his 7-year-old daughter who were caught in the crossfire.
In November 2005, Marantan was criminally charged in connection with a purported encounter between operatives of the Highway Patrol Group and the so-called Valle Verde car theft syndicate. Four scions of wealthy families were killed.
—WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH