3 of 5 Manila ‘kotong’ cops surrender

Ghio Ong, Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Three of the five Manila police officers who went into hiding after they were accused of extortion by a businessman surrendered yesterday and denied the allegations hurled against them.

Patrolmen Jeremiah Pascual and Jhon Lester Pagar as well as Cpl. Jonmark Dabucol surrendered to Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) executive director Gilbert Cruz.

They were in civilian clothes when they went to the PAOCC office at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Prior to this, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the suspects have been declared AWOL or absent without official leave.

The other two police officers, Staff Sergeants Ryann Paculan and Jan Erwin Isaac, were said to be planning to surrender, but have yet to surface at the PNP headquarters as of last night.

In their statement seen by The STAR, the police officers vehemently denied they extorted money from the 73-year-old owner of a computer shop in Sampaloc, who allegedly runs an illegal online gambling business.

The policemen said it was the businessman who offered them a weekly payola of P4,000, which they rejected.

“Ibibigay niya kada araw ng Biyernes bilang kapalit upang hindi maabala o maantala ang kanyang hanapbuhay. Pero hindi kami pumayag na tanggapin at minabuti na lamang naming umalis,” the police officers said.

The lawmen also belied the claim of the alleged victim that they stole P43,500 in cash and computer hard drive, which contained closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage.

“Mas gugustuhin naming lumabas ang CCTV footage na kuha sa loob ng establishment dahil ito ang magpapatunay nitong aming pahayag,” the police officers said.

The policemen said they obtained videos, which showed the illegal activities of the businessman’s computer shop.

They also acquired a certification from the Manila bureau of permits, showing the computer shop is not registered with the local government.

The policemen, who are assigned with the Manila Police District’s intelligence division, conducted an operation against the businessman based on information that he was allegedly running an illegal online gambling.

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