By CALVIN CORDOVA
CEBU CITY — Eleven policemen here, who were earlier disarmed and relieved from their posts on robbery and rape complaints, are facing more charges for allegedly robbing, abducting and torturing a businesswoman.
The businesswoman and her husband appeared on Wednesday before the Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group (IMEG)-Visayas Field Unit and filed complaints against the group of Police Staff Sgt. Celso Colita for “hulidap” (abduction-robbery).
Colita was the team leader of the 10 policemen from the Sawang Calero Police Station who were accused of robbing a woman whom they picked up from her house in Minglanilla town, southern Cebu, on suspicion that she was keeping illegal drugs and unlicensed firearms.
Colita was also accused of raping the 35-year-old woman twice in a motel.
Colita’s alleged cohorts were identified as Police Chief Master Sgt. Eric Edgar Emia, Police Cpl. Rochelito Mabulay, Police Cpl. Emmanuel Martinez, Police Staff Sgt. Joseph Alcoseba, Police Staff Sgt. Michael Rhey Cabizares, Police Cpl. Carlo Irizari, Police Cpl. Junel Pedroza, Police Cpl. John Carl Aceron and Police Cpl. Georny Abrasado.
The group allegedly took P170,000 from the woman after bringing her to the police station. She was then sent home with no charges filed against her.
Police Major Alejandro Batobalonos, chief of IMEG-VFU, said four out of the 11 policemen were identified in the fresh accusations.
The couple from Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City went to IMEG-VFU a day after Police Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, chief of the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas, announced the filing of charges against the 11 policemen.
In the fresh complaint, the 50-year-old woman and her husband, an architect, alleged that Colita’s group arrived in their house last March 26.
The woman said they were accused of being drug pushers and that the policemen were in their house to look for illegal drugs.
When they failed to find illegal drugs, the policemen allegedly looked for money.
The woman said she told the police that her money was in the bank and showed them an empty vault.
The police allegedly took the woman’s jewelry and some expensive cellphones before she was brought to the Sawang Calero Police Station.
Instead of locking her up in a cell, the woman said she was brought to a room at the back of the police station where she was allegedly tortured.
“The policemen were forcing her to reveal where her money was,” said Batobalonos.
Batobolonos said there were six policemen who took part in torturing the woman and four of them were among those who had already been relieved.
The woman broke down while narrating to reporters the abuses that she allegedly suffered at the hands of the policemen.
The woman said her hands were tied behind her back while one of the policemen choked her.
At one point, the woman said the policemen tried to suffocate her by covering her face with cellophane.
The woman said she was held at the police station for four days and was only released last March 29 when the PRO 7 director announced the relief of the 11 policemen.
The chief of the Sawang Calero police, Maj. Eduard Sanchez, was also relieved.
The woman admitted that she used to be a drug user but decided to stop the vice to focus on her business of renting commercial spaces in Guadalupe. Batobalonos said charges for grave threats, robbery, grave coercion, violation of the anti-torture law and arbitrary detention will be filed against the policemen involved in the alleged abuse.