Cebu News

‘Extortion’ case: Cops look for other suspects as witness recants

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya/ATO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The police are now searching for the two other suspects in an anti-illegal drug operation, who were allegedly released by seven cops in exchange for P75,000, after the man arrested by the police, who has been considered as a witness, recanted his statement.

Superintendent Aileen Recla, chief of the Investigation and Detective Management Branch of the Cebu City Police Office, said when they made an affidavit for 18-year-old Lito Paculanang, he changed his earlier statement to reporters and is already claiming that the packs of illegal drugs seized by the cops were indeed his.

 Paculanang first said in an interview with the reporters that there were three of them arrested by the CIB operatives. He claimed he was just included because he was in the area and that the packs of shabu were not his, but were seized from the two others arrested.

He further claimed that he was just made to admit the crime with the promise that the boss of the two other suspects will bail him out of prison the next morning.

He, however, did not comment when asked why the other two were released if the drugs were indeed seized from their possession. 

However, when the IDMB investigators were making Paculanang’s affidavit, he already claimed that the illegal drugs were seized from him and that the police were not able to confiscate any pack of suspected shabu from the other two.

The issue of extortion involving the seven policemen was raised when the Police Regional Office-7 received reports that a group of CIB personnel conducted an anti-illegal drug operation last Sunday along C. Padilla Street, Barangay Duljo-Fatima, Cebu City. However, the informant alleged that the suspects were released in exchange for P75,000 each.

The informant alleged further that the operation was not recorded in a police blotter.

However, a spot report from the CIB showed that there was an operation in the same area at the same time, but only Paculanang was arrested.

With this, Recla said they will have to search for the other two suspects allegedly released to testify if the cops were given money for their release.

Meanwhile, even though Mayor Michael Rama wants the seven policemen to be dismissed from service, CCPO director Senior Superintendent Benjamin Santos, said proper investigation will still be conducted.

“To give everybody a fair chance, we will conduct an investigation,” said Santos.

He said he also asked the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division of PRO-7 to conduct a separate probe to prove that there is no bias in the investigation.

As of now, the seven policemen have been relieved from their posts and their service firearms were taken away. (FREEMAN)


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