CEBU CITY – Eight police officers have been “pulled out” from the Talamban police station after they were accused of beating up a drug suspect in a buy-bust operation on Maundy Thursday.
“The eight policemen were reassigned to the Cebu City Police Office while the Internal Affairs Service of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas is investigating the matter,” said the Philippine National Police Regional Office 7.
PNP Regional Office 7 chief Police Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas refused to identify the eight policemen pending the completion of the investigation.
He called the move “pull out” since relieving police officers during election season is prohibited under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Sinas said they will ask the Commission on Elections to facilitate the relief of the eight police officers.
The Central Visayas police chief warned that appropriate charges will be filed against the eight policemen if proven that they committed abuses.
The Commission on Human Rights is also investigating the alleged police brutality.
The eight policemen came under fire after a security camera footage showing eight men suspected to be members of the Talamban police station made the rounds on social media.
The seven-minute video showed at least eight armed men in civilian clothes taking turns in manhandling a man identified as Edwin Basillote.
The person who uploaded the video on Facebook claimed she was a cousin of Basillote.
The chief of the Talamban police, Police Maj. Elisandro Quijano, has denied that the eight men in the video were his men.
Basillote is currently detained at the Talamban police station.
Cebu City Tomas Osmeña has offered to give a cash reward of P100,000 to anyone who can provide the identities of the eight policemen.
In his Facebook page, Osmeña said he has being receiving information regarding the identities six of the eight persons in the video.
Osmeña said that according to the information he received, the team leader of the operation was Police Staff Sgt. Reoven Carmelo Rota. The other policemen in the video were identified as Police Sgt. Brendro Tudtud and certains “Adalim,” “Lagunsad,” “Tagalog,” and “Magdali.”
Police Col. Royina Garma, Cebu City police chief, confirmed that the policemen mentioned by Osmeña were among the eight relieved police officers.
Garma said the relieved policemen will not be allowed to participate in anti-illegal drug operations.
Osmeña has also issued an administrative order asking Garma to provide him the list of police officers who participated in the April 18 buy-bust operation. (Calvin D. Cordova)