Criminal and administrative complaints for alleged violation of the anti-torture law have been filed against Bacolod City Police Director Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz and nine policemen before the office of the Ombudsman of the military and other law enforcement offices in the Visayas.
De la Paz yesterday said the charges were filed by three men linked to the robbery and rape of a foreign national in Brgy. Banago, Bacolod City in September last year.
Also charged are former CIDG-Bacolod head Chief Insp. Ernor Melgarejo, Senior Police Officer 1 Rosendo Bersal and Police Officer 2 Edney Matillano, who were relieved from their posts in October.
De la Paz said Superintendents Lazaro Sumague of the Negros Occidental Police crime laboratory and Alexander Ermeo of the Intelligence Branch, Inspectors Jovy Cabcaban of the Women and Children’s Complaints Desk, Homer Vargas of the Investigation branch and Jose Mulleta, chief of Station 3, and Chief Insp. Edyll Feirrera are also included in the charges, being members of the task force formed to resolve the rape case.
The policemen were given by the Ombudsman ten days to reply to the charges while the city government of Bacolod has created a legal team led by City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan to assist the policemen charged.
Suspects Joemar Agdana, 18, Henry Bañez, 21 and Crisinciano Catague, 23, all of Brgy. Banago had initially admitted to the media that they raped and robbed the foreign national in her temporary residence in Brgy. Banago.
However, they retracted their statements a day after, claiming that the CIDG policemen tortured and forced them to admit the crime and this led to the investigation conducted by the national CIDG.
The families of the suspects had sought the help of the Commission on Human rights that assisted them in filing the charges.
Bayatan refused to give copies of the complaints filed, some portions are confidential, he said is.*APN