Lima: no special treatment for cop in rape, child abuse

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/30 April) — Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said there will be no special treatment for a police officer accused of  11 counts of child abuse and one count of rape who is presently in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Region 10.

De Lima said P02 Lonie Rementizo, who preyed on five minors aged 12 to 15, will be transferred from the NBI 10 detention cell to the Philippine National Police on Monday, May 2.

Rementizo was arrested in an entrapment operation in a motel in the company of minors on September  20, 2010. He posted bail two days later to gain temporary liberty but jumped bail in March and was arrested by NBI agents in Davao City on April 27. He arrived here at 11 a.m. today (April 30) and is in the temporary custody of the NBI regional office.

A member of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (Cocpo), Rementizo’s P120,000 bail for the child abuse cases was cancelled by the Regional Trial Court Branch 37  in March after he failed to attend three consecutive hearings.

Also in March, Rementizo, through his lawyer Jose Pallugna had said the wanted police officer was willing to surface but requested that he be detained at the NBI 10 detention cell and not in the Cagayan de Oro City Jail in Barangay Lumbia.

An additional case for rape has been filed against the police officer and the RTC Branch 11 last April 11, 2011 denied his motion to set bail on this case.

Women’s rights group Tubaga opposed Rementizo’s detention in the NBI saying “it smacks of special treatment.”

Tubaga had been criticizing the Cocpo for its failure to arrest Rementizo. The group wrote President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and Secretary de Lima to order the speedy service of Rementizo’s arrest warrants.

On March 21, during the visit of Pres. Aquino, the group again raised this issue and personally relayed their demands to Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo. A few days later, PNP 10 Regional Director Chief Insp. Conrado Laza organized a task force to go after Rementizo and placed a P100,000.00 bounty on his head.

Tubaga convenor Lalae Garcia welcomed Rementizo’s arrest and the order of de Lima not to give special treatment to the rogue policeman. “At long last he is in the hands of the law. But we will continue to be vigilant in pursuing the cases against him,” Garcia said.

De Lima was in the city Saturday, as Guest of Honor and Inducting Officer of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)