Isko files more raps vs 31 Manila cops

Sandy Araneta - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno has filed more charges against a Manila Police District (MPD) precinct commander and 30 other police officers in connection with the alleged violent dispersal of a bingo game in Sta. Cruz district last Saturday that resulted in his arrest along with five city councilors.

Charged with robbery, grave coercion, unlawful arrest, perjury, arbitrary detention, and incriminating innocent persons were Inspector Eduardo Morata, chief of the Blumentritt police community precinct, and 30 unidentified policemen.

The complaints were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman Tuesday afternoon, hours after charges of grave misconduct and abuse of authority were lodged against the respondents with the National Police Commission (Napolcom).  

Aside from Moreno, the other complainants were incumbent District 3 Councilors Joel Chua, Ernesto Isip Jr., Ma. Asuncion Fugoso, and John Marvin Nieto (Yul Servo), and former councilor Manuel Zarcal.

The vice mayor had earlier described their arrest as political harassment.

Moreno, along with 25 members of the city council, switched to former President Joseph Estrada’s party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), leaving Lim with only seven councilors.

In their complaint, Moreno and the five councilors said there was probable cause to indict the 31 policemen for robbery with violence against person, or intimidation, and other charges.

The cases stemmed from the violent dispersal of a crowd attending a bingo event on Tambunting street, Sta. Cruz.

The complainants alleged that Chua was manhandled by at least five policemen during the commotion, while Isip was reportedly grabbed forcibly by Morata and was almost shoved inside a passenger jeepney where Moreno and the councilors were herded.

To prove their allegations, the complainants submitted a compact disc, showing a video of the alleged violent dispersal.

They added the policemen did not inform them why they were held in the jeepney and later brought to MPD Station 3.

“We were illegally and arbitrarily detained for about nine hours inside the precinct without being informed of the charges against us,” they said.

During their inquest at the Manila prosecutors’ office, Moreno and company expressed surprise over Morata’s purported sworn statement that the bingo event was illegal as they were charging P10 per bingo card.

Morata accused Isip of assaulting him, causing damage to his uniform. The councilor denied this.

Moreno and the councilors accused Morata of planting evidence against them by placing four P500 bills as prize money to make it appear they were guilty of illegal gambling.

The policemen led by MPD Station 3 commander Superintendent Ricardo Layug filed charges of illegal gambling, obstruction, and resisting arrest against the six Manila officials.

However, chief inquest prosecutor Elaine Yara-Cerezo ordered the released of Moreno and the councilors for further investigation.

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