CHR, police start probes: P300 thousands awaits witnesses in cop ‘brutality’ video
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, Mylen P. Manto, Rowena D. Capistrano, Mae Clydyl L. Avila (The Freeman) - April 27, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Police Office will give P200,000 to whoever can execute a formal statement and present an original copy of the video that captured what is alleged to be police brutality.

“Magbibigay din ako P200k kung sino man pumunta dito, magbigay ng statement, maging witness…para once and for all, mahuman na to… daghan kaayo intriga, kapoy na kaayo daghan pa mi buhaton (I will give P200,000 to whoever will come here, issue a statement, and become a witness so that we can settle this once and for all… there have been intrigues, and we have other important things to do),” city police chief Royina Garma told reporters yesterday.

She said she will get the money from donations from friends.

The Cebu City government, too, will give P100,000 to whoever can identify the alleged cops in the video.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he will also communicate formally with CCPO to demand for details of the supposed operation.

“As with the previous letters, I do not expect a proper reply, but at least it will be on record that the police’s leadership are in contempt of the Mayor’s authority as granted by Republic Acts 6975 and 8551 and charges will be filed,” Osmeña said.

A video of six men ganging up on one man identified later as Eddie Hermosa Basillote alias Eddie has gone viral online. In the video, the six men are seen hitting Eddie while carrying high-powered firearms.

The cops in the video are reportedly assigned at the Talamban Police Station in Cebu City.

Garma said she has seen the video but cannot ascertain the identities of the alleged policemen.

“Nakita ko ang video, but di ko naman nakita ang mukha ng mga pulis, kung pulis nga ba talaga, so my instruction is to submit yung investigation ng Station 8 (Talamban), and explanation if totoo or hindi. I will make a conclusion only when there is concrete evidence showing these are really police officers (I saw the video but I could not see the faces of the men there so my instruction is for the Talamban Police to investigate and explain if the allegations are true or not. I will make a conclusion if there is concrete evidence showing they are really cops),” Garma said. 

Based on the blotter report at the Talamban Police Station, Basillote was arrested in a buy bust operation conducted together with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-7 early evening on April 18 in Nasipit, Talamban.

Basillote was charged possession and selling of drugs.

Basillote is a resident of Ponce II, Barangay Carreta.

A family member who refused to be named claimed that he was in his house when the cops arrived and hit Basillote multiple times.

He said the cops just barged into the house after identifying themselves and hit Basillote multiple times. The cops allegedly did not have a search warrant and were not in uniform.

Basillote’s family reportedly heard the group mentioning the names “Noel” and “Kulot”.

Don’t Judge Yet

Councilor Joel Garganera, chairperson of the Police Advisory Council, said the mayor should not jump into conclusions.

“Kani atong mayor, he is in the habit of shaming our police…tainted na gyud iyang biases sa police (Our mayor has a habit of shaming our police… he has been bias against the police),” he said.

The Investigation and Detective Management Branch of the city police is now investigating the case.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-7 has also started its own probe.

Regional Director Arvin Odron told The FREEMAN that they formed a quick response team of three investigators after seeing the video.

The team will identify the victim and whether or not the men who were hitting him are, indeed, cops.

“Tua na sila sa field (They are now in the field),” Odron said yesterday.

If the men are proven to be cops and proven to have tortured the supposed victim, CHR will file a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO).

Should it be proven that the men in the video are cops, Garma assured that they will be relieved from office and dismissed from service.

“Nililinis natin ang ranks, may internal cleansing kami…we are cleaning our ranks we don’t tolerate all these kind of abuses (We are cleaning our ranks and we don’t tolerate these kinds of abuses),” she said.

Councilor David Tumulak, deputy mayor for police matters, said the city is willing to assist the victims should they decide to file a complaint against the alleged policemen.

Police Major Elisandro Quijano of the Talamban Police Station has denied the allegations. —  JMO (FREEMAN)

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