5 cops accused of ‘tokhang-for-ransom’ | Inquirer News

5 cops accused of ‘tokhang-for-ransom’

/ 07:23 AM August 30, 2017

A Batangas couple has filed a kidnapping complaint against five Santa Rosa City, Laguna, police officers, who allegedly threatened to make it appear they were killed after “resisting arrest” in a drug operation, reminiscent of the fatal “tokhang-for-ransom” case of a South Korean businessman last year.

In a three-page complaint-affidavit filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday, Rommel dela Cruz and his wife said the officers held them at gunpoint for several hours on Aug. 4 and tried to extort P1 million from them.

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The officers allegedly invoked Oplan Tokhang and threatened to either kill them in a mock police operation or to frame them up on drug charges if they don’t pay up.

In last year’s brutal tokhang-for-ransom case, investigators said South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo was kidnapped by antinarcotics officers, who strangled him inside his car in Camp Crame even before they received a ransom payment from his wife. Jee’s body was later cremated. Several officers are being tried for kidnapping and murder in that case.

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Named respondents in the Laguna case were PO2 John Alicbusan, PO1 Glecerio Cruzen, PO1 Clayson Benabese, PO3 Troyluss Ambrocius Yideso and PO3 Warren Ryan Carpena.

Slaughterhouse

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Supt. Joel Estaris, former Santa Rosa police chief, said the officers had been relieved and sent to the Laguna provincial police holding unit immediately after officials learned about the complaint.

Estaris said the Philippine National Police would most likely file an administrative case against the officers.

The couple, whose family has been placed under police protection, said they were abducted near Robinsons Place Santa Rosa where a white Toyota Avanza blocked their car.

The officers took them to a slaughterhouse in JB Village in Barangay Balibago where Cruzen, who acted as leader of the group, demanded P1 million from them, threatening to kill them and “make it appear we fought back in their operation ‘tokhang,” the husband said.

The officers allegedly took expensive personal belongings from the couple, including a P50,000 bag, two sunglasses, two cell phones worth P37,000 and a P12,000 pair of earrings.

Later the officers placed an aluminum foil and a lighter to look like drug paraphernalia beside the husband and took pictures that would be used as “strong evidence” in a no-bail case against the couple, the complaint said.

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Call business partner

The wife, who was forced to call a business partner to ask for a large amount, was able to get someone to place a P215,000 check deposit in her account as advance payment. After Cruzen checked the deposit at an ATM in SM Santa Rosa, he ordered the couple to pay the remainder of the P1 million in their next meeting.

After they agreed, the couple dropped off the three officers close to the fire station near the Santa Rosa police station.

The couple reported the incident to the Laguna provincial police intelligence branch on Aug. 7. They were shown several pictures that allowed them to identify their alleged abductors. —With a report from Maricar Cinco

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TAGS: Clayson Benabese, Glecerio Cruzen, John Alicbusan, rogue cops, tokhang for ransom, Troyluss Ambrocius Yideso, Warren Ryan Carpena
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