10 cops sued by TV news anchor over warrantless arrest cleared
MANILA, Philippines–The Court of Appeals has upheld the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in dismissing the administrative complaint filed by TV news anchor Ted Failon against 10 police officers for arresting his househelpers and relatives without warrant immediately after his wife committed suicide in 2009.
Cleared of the complaint were Police Chief Supt. (P/CSupt.) Roberto Rosales and Elmo DG San Diego, Police Supt. (P/Supt.) Franklin Moises Mabanag and Gerardo Ratuita, Police Chief Inspector (P/CInsp) Enrico Figueroa, Cherry Lou Balanay Donato, and Roberto Razon, Police Senior Inspector (P/SInsp) Jay Borromeo, Police Inspector (P/Insp) Erlinda Garcia and Police Officer 2 (PO2) Joycelyn Marcelo.
In a six-page decision made public Monday, the appeals court 4th Division through Associate Justice Amelita Tolentino said under Section 1 of Executive Order No. 226, an officer of any law enforcement agency can be held administratively liable for violation of Executive Order 226 under the doctrine of command responsibility, for neglect of duty, when the said officer has knowledge that the crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed or has been committed by his subordinates.
“Even if the subordinates committed negligent acts, their negligence cannot always be ascribed to their superior in the absence of the latter’s own negligence,” the appeals court said.
“It does not follow that those holding responsible positions, like the respondents in this case, are likewise negligent, especially so when the contentions of the petitioners were not established and settled,” it added.
Failon (Mario Teodoro Failon Etong in real life) together with his sister-in-law Pamela Arteche-Trinchera and his househelpers Pacifico Arteche Apacible , Glen Polan, Carlota Morbos and Wilfreda Bollicer filed the administrative complaint against the policemen for alleged violation of E.O. 226 or for neglect of duty.
The petitioners said that on April 16, 2009, Manabag, Ratuita and Razon went to Failon’s residence and arrested without warrant the househelpers for alleged violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829 (Obstruction of Justice).
They claimed that the warrantless arrest happened in the presence of their superiors Rosales and San Diego.
On the same day, while her sister-in-law, and her brother, Maximo Artehe, were at the New Era Hospital, they were also arrested without warrant by respondents Mabanag, Ratuita, Donato, Razon, Borromeo and Garcia.
Failon’s relatives and househelpers were brought by the members of the Crime Investigation and Detection Unit-Quezon City Police District for inquest proceedings at the Quezon City Hall of Justice.
The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the complaint against the respondent-policemen on June 7, 2011.