5 MPD cops in ransom probe surface
MANILA, Philippines—A day after Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim issued a shoot-to-kill order against them, five Manila policemen showed up at city hall to deny the allegation that they took millions of pesos in ransom money a Malaysian trader had paid his captors.
On Tuesday, the five members of the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 5 went to Lim’s office, accompanied by their lawyers.
It was the first time they appeared in public since they walked out on Friday afternoon from a hearing at the MPD headquarters which Lim had ordered to find out what happened to around P12 million worth of ransom recovered during a follow-up operation.
Senior Insp. Peter Nerviza, one of the five policemen under investigation, denied reports that they went into hiding. He and the other policemen were declared absent without official leave after they failed to show up at subsequent hearings.
“We were not hiding. We asked [for] permission to leave the [MPD] General Assignments Section [which was conducting the investigation],” he said.
At the same time, he and the other policemen—Police Officers 3 Ernesto Peralta, Jefferson Britanico and Mike Ongpauco and PO1 Rommel Ocampo—expressed willingness to face an investigation.
The ransom had been paid by Malaysian trader Eric Sim Chin Tong who was kidnapped by a group of men on March 6. During a follow-up operation conducted by Nerviza and the other policemen, eight men were arrested while P4.2 million was recovered of the P16 million ransom.
In a press conference on Monday, Lim narrated that the kidnap suspects had claimed that as they were being arrested at Riviera Mansion, they saw the five policemen stuffing some of the ransom into their pockets.
Nerviza, however, accused Tong’s kidnappers of lying.
“So what is to be determined now is which version is true,” Lim said. “This needs a closer investigation. If [the ransom] is with the group of suspects, it needs to be recovered. If it is with [the police], we also need to locate the money. It’s difficult to believe [that] we will not recover anything.”
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