Cop tagged in broadcaster’s slay stranded not arrested
Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - August 18, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 has denied reports that a police officer tagged as person of interest in the murder of a broadcaster in Negros Oriental was held captive in Cebu without any charges.

In a statement, PRO-7 clarified that Police Master Sergeant Reoel Pinero was stranded in Cebu City due to travel restrictions because of the pandemic. Pinero was on his way to Manila to report to his new assignment at the National Capital Region Police Office, but travel restrictions prevented him since the region is still under modified enhanced community quarantine.

Pinero instead reported to PRO-7 headquarters and decided to stay at the PC Hills, a village exclusive for police personnel located in Barangay Apas, Cebu City, while waiting for the travel restrictions to be lifted.

 The regional police headquarters issued the clarification after Pinero’s wife claimed during a press conference that her husband has gone “missing”. The wife urged the police leadership to look for her husband amid reports that the latter was arrested without charges.

 “Such is not the case of PEMS Pinero, who in his own free will chose to avail of the convenient living arrangements in the PC Hills quarters,” the PRO-7 statement reads.

“Currently, PEMS Pinero has already reported to his unit at NCRPO and is undergoing quarantine protocols, as required by the NCRPO Regional Health Service therein. Obviously, he is not within the operational and administrative supervision and control of PRO-7,” it added.

Colonel Arnel Banzon, director of Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NORPPO), said that Pinero was tagged as person of interest in the killing of Dumaguete-based radio broadcaster Cornelio Pepino alias Rex Cornelio on May 5, 2020.

Pepino was ambushed by unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen while on his way home from his radio program.

The PRO-7 said Pinero remains on active duty while investigation related to his alleged involvement in the murder of Pepino is still on going. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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