Angeles City newshen threatened

- Ding Cervantes -

ANGELES CITY – The life of an associate publisher of a local newsweekly is now reportedly in danger after her newspaper came out last week with a story about three local policemen caught redhanded in extorting from illegal drugs suspects, amid claims that this city’s police chief and a barangay official here want the case whitewashed.

The Angeles City Press and Radio Club, Inc. (APRC) issued yesterday Resolution No. 01-2008 “strongly condemning the death threats, harrassments, and other similar acts preventing media practitioners from performing their duties as members of the “Fourth Estate” allegedly committed against Sipol newsweekly associate publisher Grace Santos by city police director Senior Superintendent George Gaddi and the official from Barangay Pulung Maragul.

The resolution said Santos has been receiving death threats in her cell phone and that unidentified suspicious men on board a motorcycle have been monitoring her residence at Timog Park since her newsweekly came out last week with a story titled “Entrapment sa Kampo, 3 Pulis Kalaboso” on three local cops from the Drug Enforcement Unit  (DEU) allegedly caught extorting from illegal drugs suspects in their headquarters.

Santos has reportedly gone into hiding in an undisclosed place and her cellphone has remained turned off for days now.

The resolution noted that the story was based on the official complaint of illegal drugs case suspects Annaliza Sullano and one Danilo Soriano who hinted that three policemen from the DEU asked for some cash from her in exchange for her liberty. The policemen were identified as PO3 Oliver Desilos, PO1 Rene Manuel and PO1 Mervin Manaloto of the DEU’s intelligence division which, the resolution noted, was “ under the direct supervision of Gaddi.”

Central Luzon police director Chief Superintendent Errol Pan confirmed to The Star the arrest of the three cops arising from the extortion complaint. “Regional operatives were the ones who caught them,” he said.

“As a matter of fact, I was the one who sent by text message to Grace the information on the operations,” Pan said. The three cops allegedly asked for P20,000 from the suspects, but this was reduced to P10,000 which was marked by the regional police for the entrapment operations  at the  DEU here.

The APRC resolution cited Sullano’s sworn affidavit submitted to Senior Superintendent Silvestre Primero accusing the barangay chief of persuading them to withdraw their extortion complaint against the three cops and saying that the barangay official allegedly revealed Gaddi had asked him to do so.

The press club resolution said they would hold Gaddi and the barangay official liable for the safety not only of the Sipol associate editor but also of Sullano and Soriano.

The Star tried to get the side of Gaddi, but none from his office could say where he could be reached. There was also no return call from him as arranged with his secretary.

Pan urged Santos to file a formal complaint against Gaddi, even as he vowed to look into the case. “A formal complaint could be handled by the independent Internal Affairs Service Office. I tolerate no abuse of police power, but we must exercise due process,” he said.








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