In a 20-page decision released earlier this week, the Special Third Division of the appellate court upheld the August 2017 order of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing Master Sergeants Ronaldo David and Christopher Torres and Pat. Bonifacio Tagcos from the police service.
Miguel De Guzman
CA affirms dismissal of 3 Pasay cops
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - July 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the dismissal of three Pasay City policemen who extorted money from a couple they arrested in a supposed anti-narcotics operation in 2013.

In a 20-page decision released earlier this week, the Special Third Division of the appellate court upheld the August 2017 order of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing Master Sergeants Ronaldo David and Christopher Torres and Pat. Bonifacio Tagcos from the police service.

The CA dismissed for lack of merit the petition of the police officers seeking reversal of the ombudsman ruling. 

The appellate court agreed with the finding of the ombudsman that the policemen were guilty of an administrative offense of grave misconduct for extorting money from couple Aleasar Makaundas and Zinaida Haddisalem Laoon during a raid on their house in Parañaque City in December 2013.

In the ruling penned by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, the CA cited as “qualifying element of corruption” the closed-circuit television footage, which caught Torres accompanying Laoon to withdraw money from the bank.

The CA rejected the claim of the policemen that they were merely conducting a follow-up operation upon orders of their superior and that they only accompanied the complainant to provide her security. The superior has died.

The court also cited the lack of a search warrant during the operation.

The CA said there was no report regarding the raid, in violation of the 2010 police manual on anti-illegal drug operations and investigation.

The court used the policemen’s defense of length of service, commendations and lack of prior disciplinary records to their disadvantage.

The CA applied the policemen’s good record as aggravating circumstances because “they were expected to be more knowledgeable of the basic police procedures and more discerning in the execution of their duties as police officers.”

Records showed that the policemen raided the couple’s house and took jewelry and their store’s P100,000 earnings.

The police officers ordered the couple to withdraw P450,000 from the bank and forced them to sign a blank deed selling their 2010 Mitsubishi Montero for P1.05 million.

The policemen also warned the victims to keep quiet or charges would be filed against them.

PASAY CITY POLICEMEN
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