City police to probe: Fuente cop ‘extorts money’ from vendors
Ma. Fatima R. Secuya/NSA (The Freeman) - December 3, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Police Office will be investigating the alleged extorting of money by a police officer from ciga-rette vendors along Gene-ral Maxilom Avenue.

Police Officer 1 Berlino Ricafort of Fuente Police Station is being pinpointed in the column of a local newspaper one of those being accused by cigarette vendors of extortion.

In the article, the columnist said they received a message through email from a certain Boyax asking for assistance regarding policemen from Fuente Police Station who allegedly extort money from the vendors.

They said Ricafort, together with other policemen, apprehends ambulant cigarette vendors at night and would allegedly bring them to Fuente Police Station where they would demand for money from them.

According to the allegation, Ricafort and his fellow policemen have done this twice and that at least seven vendors have given money to them. However, no official receipt was given to them.

The policemen would also allegedly threaten them that if they do not give P500, they will add charges against them such as illegal possession of firearms and illegal gambling.

Ricafort denied all the allegations, saying he could never do such thing considering his profession.

“Sa tibuok kinabuhi nako, wa ko kahinumdom nga mangayo ko’g kuwarta nga dili nako hinagoan,” said Ricafort. He said he has been assigned as foot patroller along General Maxilom Avenue for around two years already.

Ricafort said it is impossible for him to be involved in such crime since he is assigned in the morning, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and these ambulant vendors would start selling at around 11 p.m. already.

However, he said that even when he was still assigned at the night shift, he has never caught ambulant vendors.

“Wala gyud ko’y nadakpan nga vendor, bisan unsa nga vendor, wa ko’y nadakpan,” Ricafort pointed out.

He said he would admonish ambulant vendors though as part of his job, but in a polite manner.

Ricafort said this issue really hurt him as he is protecting not just his own name but also his family.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent Rey Lyndon Lawas, chief of the Regional Directorial Staff of the Police Regional Office-7, said the issue has to be investigated.

“One is to give justice to these victims nga giingon nga gipangilkilan sa usa ka pulis. Second is for us, during the conduct of investigation, it will be an avenue for that concerned police station to be heard,” said Lawas.

He said he will direct the Investigative Detection Management Branch of the CCPO to go to the area where the apprehension of these ambulant vendors allegedly happened and search for those who were allegedly extorted money by Ricafort and other policemen.

“And if they will be willing to give testimonies, charges can be filed against Ricafort,” said Lawas.

Lawas said even though Ricafort has denied the allegation through media, the police officer should still put it into writing to make it official and for them to conduct the formal investigation.

Ricafort said he is ready to be investigated if that’s the only way to clear his name.

“Bisan unsang orasa, andam ko motubag, limpyo akong konsensya,” he stressed, saying he could still not comprehend why his name is being dragged in the issue.  (FREEMAN)

 

 

ACIRC BERLINO RICAFORT OF FUENTE POLICE STATION CEBU CITY POLICE OFFICE FUENTE POLICE STATION GENERAL MAXILOM AVENUE INVESTIGATIVE DETECTION MANAGEMENT BRANCH LAWAS MAXILOM AVENUE POLICE RICAFORT VENDORS
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