9 NBI agents face torture raps

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
9 NBI agents face torture raps
E-sabong involves remote betting on cockfights.

Over missing ‘sabungeros’

MANILA, Philippines — The mother of two police assets tagged in the case of the missing sabungeros filed criminal and administrative charges last week against nine agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for allegedly torturing the suspects and preparing trumped-up charges against them.

In a 12-page affidavit, Joyce Manio, mother of Nicasio and Nicholes Manio, asked the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and other Law Enforcement Offices to probe NBI lawyers Ross Jonathan Galicia and Eduardo Ramos Jr. as well as agents Levi Mora Orille, Aubrey Cosidon, Eigelbert Pulan, Abner Dotimas, Nestor Gutierrez, Allan Ernesto Elefante and Gary Menez.

The respondents are assigned at the NBI Task Force Against Illegal Drugs (TFAID) stationed at the NBI headquarters along Taft Avenue in Manila.

The NBI officials were charged with graft, grave coercion, rape, planting of drugs as evidence, violations of Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act as well as domicile under Article 128 of the Revised Penal Code, incriminating against innocent persons, and delays in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities.

In her complaint, Manio said the NBI agents must also be investigated for administrative offenses of serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, oppression, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, sexual harassment and violation of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Manio said the respondents apprehended Nicasio and Nicholes at their house in Batangas City on June 8, 2021 without a warrant of arrest.

The respondents were also accused of beating up the Manio brothers while they were being escorted to the NBI vehicles.

On June 10, 2021, the brothers were presented to media as suspects in the kidnapping and disappearance of online cockfight workers Johnver Francisco and Frank Tabaranza in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

Manio said her sons were allegedly threatened with bodily harm, cajoled and allegedly sexually molested by Galicia while detained at the NBI-TFAID office.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin said the PNP would intensify the crackdown on e-sabong.

“Operators of online sabong must moderate their greed,” Azurin said at a press briefing.

He said the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group recommended the inclusion of e-sabong as a form illegal gambling.

Service providers will be facing sanctions if they fail to block or take down e-sabong websites, Azurin said.

Police have arrested 28 people engaged in online sabong during separate operations in Mandaluyong, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu and Santiago City in Isabela. – Ralph Edwin Villlanueva

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