Bato: PNP not ‘compromised’ despite arrest of Abu ‘lover’
Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Wednesday sought to allay concerns that Supt. Ma. Cristina Nobleza’s dalliance with an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member had “compromised” the force.
Dela Rosa confirmed that Nobleza was chief of the Intelligence Operation Division of the PNP’s Directorate for Intelligence, but this was before 2013, when she met her alleged lover, ASG member Renierlo Dongon, who has been implicated in a previous bomb attack in Cagayan de Oro city that killed two.
Nobleza and Dongon were flown to Manila where they underwent interrogation at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame. They were arrested in Bohol where they were said to be responding to wounded Abu Sayyaf militants cornered by government forces.
Nobleza’s home in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, was also raided on Monday night and police seized bomb components and assorted “subversive documents pertaining to terrorist activities.”
Also found there was an M16 rifle, bandolier, seven magazines and 218 cartridges for M16 rifle, .45-cal. pistol, yellow timer for an improvised explosive device, other bomb components, one set of soldering iron, 66 nonelectric blasting caps and battery.
“Don’t be afraid that the PNP is compromised because (Nobleza) was (allegedly) recruited by the Abu Sayyaf. Those are inaccurate,” Dela Rosa said. “Yes, it is true that she was assigned to the Directorate for Intelligence but that was prior to her involvement with Dongon.”
Dela Rosa said Nobleza and Dongon’s relationship blossomed after he was arrested in 2013 and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) used Nobleza to interrogate him.
The Northern Mindanao Police Office said the raid on Nobleza’s home was backed by a search warrant issued by Judge Maria Theresa Aban-Camannong of Regional Trial Court Branch 9 in Malaybalay City.
Two minors who were also found inside the police officer’s home were turned over to proper authorities.
In Davao City, Supt. Georgy Manuel, the chief of the Southern Mindanao Regional Crime Laboratory, said he and Nobleza had barely talked since the latter was assigned there in February.
“We were both busy with our tasks,” Manuel said. “Some of my men would also hear her use an unfamiliar dialect in phone conversations with unidentified callers.”
He said Nobleza was “building a house because she stayed in hotels since her reassignment in Davao from Camp Crame.”
In Bicol, Nobleza’s former classmates and colleagues in Camarines Sur were shocked about her arrest.
“I could have never imagined her do what she did, become a traitor against the government,” a retired policewoman who did not want to be named said of Nobleza.
She said she knew Nobleza as an achiever when she was assigned at the Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office, where she had a good track record having had several overseas trainings.
According to Nobleza’s personal Facebook account, she also served as a United Nations peacekeeper for 14 months in Timor-Leste. —WITH REPORTS FROM SHIENA M. BARRAMEDA, JIGGER J. JERUSALEM AND ALLAN NAWAL