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Cebu News

Castro files admin raps against RSOG policemen

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – After being released on bail, Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro wasted no time to turn the table on the policemen whom she figured with in a commotion at the office of the Regional Special Operations Group-7 last week.

Castro filed yesterday with the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices charges of obstruction of justice and grave misconduct against seven policemen for “harboring and concealing” a certain Maricel Gregory, who was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a Talisay City court for the libel case Castro filed.

Gregory is reportedly the common-law partner of Castro’s estranged husband, Greco Sanchez, whom the prosecutor married in a Muslim ceremony.

Castro is also asking the Ombudsman to place the policemen under preventive suspension to foil them from “tampering with evidence” of the case.

She identified them as Superintendent Rex Derillo, Senior Inspectors Romeo Sentinta Jr. and Ruel Burlat, and police officers Roy Carlo Veloso, Joseph Bugtal, Esmeraldo Quillosa and Cesar Pandong.

Castro also accused a representative (name withheld pending his comment) of an insurance company for failing to report to authorities Gregory’s apprehension.

In her complaint-affidavit, Castro said that prior to the incident with the policemen, a massive manhunt operation was conducted to serve the arrest warrant on Gregory, whose whereabouts were allegedly unknown at that time.

She said she even sought the assistance of the Cebu City Police Office for the operation.

She narrated that she, along with police officers, went to Police Regional Office-7 R2 office inside Camp Sergio Osmeña after receiving a text message from Superintendent George Ylanan, CCPO deputy director for operations, that Gregory was held there.

However, she said, she was told by R2 personnel that there was no arrest made on Gregory.

“But since Colonel Ylanan insisted that Maricel Gregory was arrested, I again asked R2 personnel about it. That was when R2 personnel guided me to (the) RSOG office located at the far end area of the camp,” Castro said.

She said that after she was lead to the RSOG office, she called up the Talisay City Police Station to assist her in the service of the warrants against Gregory.

Castro alleged the Talisay City policemen were reportedly not allowed access inside the camp because they had no jurisdiction over the area.

She said Derilo, of Regional Intelligence Division-7, prevented the Talisay and Cebu City policemen who were with her to get inside the PRO-7 due to jurisdictional matter.

She said that when she entered the RSOG office, she saw Gregory along with Sentista, Burlat and Quillosa at the police office’s reception area.

“I was never angry nor violent. I asked the police officials for the blotter of the arrest of Gregory and their basis of arresting the subject, but I was told by Burlat that the investigator was on off duty and that he might have brought and hidden the blotter,” she said.

She also said that “when I asked (for) the name of their investigator, ‘I forgot mam’ was the immediate reply.”

She said she later found out that Gregory’s arrest was not recorded in the police blotter, prompting her to suspect that the RSOG officers harbored Gregory instead of immediately turning her over to Talisay City.

Castro is facing charges for direct assault and malicious mischief filed by the seven RSOG policemen after she, along with four men, allegedly broke into the RSOG office by destroying its padlock.

Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, PRO-7 director, said investigation into the incident involving Castro and his men has already started.

He assured that they would be impartial in the investigation into what really happened last March 7.

“We will let all people concerned to submit their respective statements,” he said, adding that there will be due process and that the policemen involved would be summoned.

Castro asked the PRO-7 for a full-blown investigation into what really transpired on March 7.

“It’s not only me that has been deprived of my right. My companions as well suffered from the hands of the very people who were task to implement the law to protect our civil liberties.  So,… my foremost business and concern is to insure truth comes to light. Manubag ang dapat manubag,” she said.

Castro, who was very emotional during the interview, said her experience was very traumatic for her.

She said she bit Burlat to free herself from his hold because her companions were allegedly being punched and kicked by the RSOG policemen and were crying for her help.

Aside from filing her own complaint against the policemen, she also requested for the return of her and her companions’ cell phones which were confiscated during the incident. — /RHM (FREEMAN)

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