PNP offers bounty on cop in rape, child abuse cases

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/30 March) – PO1 Lonie Rementizo was supposed to surface before the court Friday last week, said his lawyer, but the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 37 Jose Escobido called in sick.

In a hearing last week before the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB), lawyer Alejandro Jose Pallugna told the board that his client, who is facing one count of rape and 11 counts of child abuse, is planning to surrender to the courts but had requested that he be detained in the detention cell of the regional office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and not in the city jail in Brgy. Lumbia.

Exasperated over the police’s inability to capture the member of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office, the Tubaga Movement, nuns from the Religious of Good Shepherd and representatives from the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, wrote a joint letter last week requesting President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to order concerned government agencies to effect Rementizo’s arrest.

Members of Tubaga Movement and the SAC had a brief meeting with Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in the sidelines of the presidential visit here last week to discuss the slow police action on several sexual harassment cases in the city.

Chief Supt. Conrado Laza, PNP Regional Director for Northern Mindanao, announced Tuesday afternoon that they have been ordered by the DILG to put a P100,000 bounty on Rementizo’s head and the creation of the Task Force Rementizo to be headed by Sr. Insp. Lyndel Desquitado, former city police chief.

Rementizo was arrested in August 2010 in the company of minors in a local motel. He was then charged for rape of minors and 11 counts of child abuse. He had initially posted a P200,000 bail but had since then refused to attend his various court cases, prompting the court to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Tubaga movement convenor Lalae Garcia faulted the “old boys club” mentality in the police as the reason why Rementizo has been making “a mockery of his arrest warrants.” She, however, welcomed the raising of a bounty on Rementizo’s head.

Pallugna said that Rementizo needs more time as a free man to raise money for his bail. He did not elaborate how his client was raising funds as an outlaw.

Aside from the Rementizo case, Tubaga also called the attention of the President, Robredo and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima about the case of six suspects, two of whom are Swedish nationals, accused of running a cybersex den in the city. A case against these suspects is pending before Branch 41 of the RTC, but the suspects are now at large.

The NBI cracked down on this cybersex den in April 2009. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)