No benefits for family of Hortezuela, police say
TWELVE years of service in the Philippine National Police went down the drain after the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) said that the family of Senior Insp. Raymond Hortezuela will not get any death benefit because he was killed under allegation that he was a “narco cop.”
This developed as the PRO-7 stood firm in its position that Hortezuela was killed in a legitimate anti-drug operation and thus not entitled to the death benefits due to policemen.
This was the same position adopted by the PNP as Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, PRO-7 director, said in a press conference yesterday that they have no problem if the Commission on Human Rights in the region (CHR-7) would investigate the death of Hortezuela.
Sinas said Hortezuela’s family will only receive the accumulative approved leave, which the slain police officer did not use during his 12 years in service.
“Ang main benefits gyud, kaning gitawag nga lump sum pension, dili nato mahatag. Absolute gyud na siya. Ang pwede lang mahatag nato nila is kaning wala niya magamit nga leave credits,” said Sinas. (The main benefit of a police officer, the lump sum pension, we can never give. That is absolute. We can only give the conversion of his leave credits, which were not used, to his family.)
Sinas explained that the lump sum pension could not be given to the family because Hortezuela was involved in the illegal drugs trade and was killed in a legitimate police operation.
Wilfredo, Hortezuela’s father, cried foul upon hearing that they will not be able to get any benefit.
He said they will ask for assistance from a lawyer because they feel this is an injustice.
“Intawon mahatagan intawon mi sa iyang mga benepisyo. Naglabad naman gani among ulo asa siya ilubong. Asa na padulong akong apo? Kaning iyang anak ug iyang asawa,” Wilfredo said in an interview with TV Patrol Central Visayas.
(I am begging, give us the benefits. We are even having a problem where we could get him buried. Where will my grandchild go? What will happen to his daughter and wife?)
Wilfredo said that Hortezuela, the eldest of his three children, was his family’s breadwinner.
Hortezuela, who left behind his wife Maricel and a 13-year-old daughter, had been in the service for 12 years. He entered the PNP after he graduated from the University of Cebu in 2006.
He was assigned to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) and became the deputy chief of the Guadalupe Police Station before he was assigned to Negros Oriental Provincial Police office (NOPPO) last month, amid allegations over his drug links.
While the police were adamant against granting his family death benefits, authorities were likewise unfazed by the CHR probe, given that Hortezuela was allegedly killed in a legitimate anti-drug police operation.
Sinas said they do not have any problem if the CHR-7 will investigate the incident.
“Trabaho man na nila. Ilaha man nang mandatos. So free sila mag-investigate ug walay problema sa amoa,” Sinas said. (It’s their job and they are mandated by law to do so. So they are free to investigate, and we do not have any problem with that.)
Earlier, CHR-7 Director Arvin Odron said the Investigation Section of the agency has started to look into the circumstances leading to the death of Hortezuela.
Hortezuela was gunned down in what the police said was a shootout in Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City, last Sunday, June 10.
Odron earlier said they wanted to know whether or not the raiding team had a basis to shoot Hortezuela.
But Sinas maintained that the buy-bust was a legitimate operation conducted by the Regional Intelligence Division in the region (RID-7) and the Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF) of Camp Crame.
“It was a legitimate police operation. Naa mi basis ato. And kadto, kinahanglan mapugngan ang ingatong dautan nga buhat,” said Sinas. (It was a legitimate police operation. We have basis. And we need to put an end to these illegal drug activities of that police officer.)
Warning to other cops
Even with the investigation of CHR-7, Sinas said this would not stop the police from going after law enforcers and other individuals who are involved in the narcotics trade.
Speaking during the celebration of 120th Independence Day at PRO-7 quadrangle yesterday, Sinas reminded policemen to do their jobs well and to stay away from illegal drugs.
Otherwise, he said they will regret their decision.
Sinas said they can still give a second chance to those policemen who are into illegal activities.
And if they want to change their ways, Sinas advised them to change now.
“Ayaw hulata nga mag-abot pa ta sa tumoy. Kun dili ninyo undangon inyong mga dautan nga panginabuhi abot-abot lang ta sa tumoy. Tan-awon nato kinsay unang mo-surrender. Kay kami dili mi mo-undang (in going against you),” said Sinas. (Don’t wait until we get to face each other at the end. If you will not stop your illegal activities then we will meet at the end. Let’s see who will surrender first. Because we wont stop in going against you.)
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