5 Region 12 cops facing kidnapping charges

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 Sept) – Five police intelligence operatives in Region 12 have been charged with kidnapping, carnapping and robbery in connection with the abduction of two businessmen in Koronadal City last month.

Chief Supt. Alex Paul Monteagudo, Region 12 police director, identified the suspects as Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Celestino Reyes Jr., Police Officer 3 (PO3) Randy Galan, Police Officer 2 (PO2) Francisco Castro and Police Officer 1 (PO1) John Cesar Elezano and Jeffrey Delarmente, who were all members of the Police Regional Office 12’s Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) based in this city.

He said the five policemen were positively identified by kidnap victims Abdul Manan Ebad and Mukamad Utto as the ones who seized them at gunpoint in a gas station in Koronadal City last August 26.

The victims’ claims were corroborated by statements issued by the policemen’s alleged cohort identified as Abdul Bashit Eshak, who was arrested following their rescue in Barangay Rizal in Bansalan, Davao del Sur on August 28, he said.

“They were already relieved and transferred to Camp Crame,” Monteagudo said Thursday.

The Criminal Investigation Service of the Koronadal City police station earlier filed multiple complaints before the City Prosecutor’s Office against Eshak and the five policemen in connection with Ebad and Utto’s kidnapping.

They were specifically charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code; robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons under Article 294; and, violation of Republic Act 6539 or Anti-Carnapping Act of 1992.

Based on the extra-judicial confession issued by Eshak, a man who claimed to be Chief Insp. Ryan Bobby Paloma called him up in his mobile phone and instructed him to report to the RIU office at Camp Fermin Lira here.

Eshak, who is a residence in Purok Islam here, claimed that he was met at the RIU office by SPO1 Reyes who led him to a parked white Isuzu Crosswind where PO3 Galan, PO2 Castro, PO1 Elezano and PO1 Delarmente were already waiting.

He left the area along with the group and proceeded to Koronadal City, where they initially met Utto at a Shell station located near a shopping mall.

Utto, he said, was then waiting for his nephew Ebad, who is a businessman based in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat.

When Ebad arrived aboard his Mitsubishi Strada pickup, Eshak said the armed policemen approached the victim and Galan then pointed a gun, handcuffed and transferred him to the back of the waiting Crosswind where a handcuffed and blindfolded Utto was also being held.

He said Elezano then placed a blindfold on Ebad before they left the area towards the direction of this city.

The group gassed up in Polomolok town in South Cotabato before proceeding towards the Davao del Sur area, he said.

While on the way, Eshak said one of the policemen called up Ebad’s wife Zenaida and demanded a P100,000 ransom for the release of the two victims.

But the group later ended the negotiations after sensing that Ebad’s wife was already seeking help from authorities, he said.

Eshak’s statements were affirmed by the complaint-affidavit filed by Ebad, who claimed to have lost around P100,000 in cash and some other personal valuables that he was carrying during their ordeal.

In his sworn statement, Utto said the policemen took P50,000 in cash from his brown wallet and his other personal valuables.

A gas attendant in Polomolok town issued an affidavit confirming that he saw and identified Eshak when the group passed by the area last August 26.

Monteagudo said that aside from the criminal complaints, the five policemen were also facing multiple administrative charges in connection with the case.

He said the Philippine National Police central office has set an independent investigation in a bid to dig deeper into the matter.

“They’re now undergoing pre-charge evaluation for their administrative cases. Their cases are being dealt with properly and under due process,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)