RPDEU chief: ‘No foul play’ in Colita’s death

By: Pegeen Maisie M. Sararaña - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | April 20,2021 - 05:03 PM

Police Major Glenn Hife, head of the internal investigation team probing the 11 Sawang Calero policemen accused of extortion and rape. CDN Digital photo | Pegeen Maisie Sararana

CEBU CITY, Philippines — There is ‘definitely no foul play’ in Police Staff Sergeant Celso Colita’s death.

Thus declared on Tuesday, April 20, Police Major Glenn Hife, the head of the internal investigation team investigating the 11 Cebu City policemen accused of extortion and rape.

Hife, the chief of the Regional Police Drug and Enforcement Unit (RPDEU), said Colita’s suicide happened around 9 p.m., during their talk as part of an internal probe after the latter and 10 other policemen assigned at the Sawang Calero Police Station were accused by at least two female complainants of extortion and rape.

The 11 accused policemen have already been relieved and are restricted inside the Police Regional Office-7 (PRO-7) compound where the RPDEU headquarters is also located. Hife is tasked to lead the internal investigation.

“Ang ako lang participation was siya ang akong gipatawag bahin sa akoang internal investigation dili lang kay siya, silang tanan…gitagsa-tagsa nako ni sila,” Hife said. (I summoned him as part of our internal investigation. Actually not only him but all 11 of them)

Hife added that at first, his conversation with Colita was okay until he opened up about the death of Ritchie Nepomuceno, a vital witness and one of the complainants who was gunned down just three hours earlier.

“Sa akong na obserbaran niya, medyo okay man sya kay although di nako makita iya facial expression kay naka mask, mukatawa ko, mukatawa sad sya, normal amoang conversation. Sa dihang nag storya mi, akong gilakbitan ang pag ambush ni Miles (Ritchie) Nepomuceno.”

(During our initial talk, he was ok although I can’t see his entire face because he was wearing a face mask but he would laugh during the course of the interrogation. Until I mentioned about the ambush-slay of Miles {Ritchie} Nepomuceno)

“Sergeant kahibaw ba ka nga ang imong complainant, si Miles Nepomuceno, si Ritchie, gi ambush?” Hife asked Colita. (Sergeant did you know that your complainant Miles Nepomuceno, Ritchie, was ambushed?)

Hife said he noticed a sudden change in Colita’s expression after he asked the question about Nepomuceno’s ambush and that the latter expressed shock after hearing the news.

Hife said he also asked Colita if he had any involvement in the ambush that happened in Sitio Bayanihan in Barangay Basak-Pardo that night. Colita reportedly did not say a word.

He also asked Colita about his alleged involvement in drugs but still got no reply.

Hife added that a few minutes later, Colita asked permission to go to the comfort room. A gunshot was then heard.

The RPDEU chief said that based on the report they got from the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), Colita sustained a gunshot wound on his right temple from a .45 caliber firearm.

Colita was rushed to the St. Vincent General Hospital which was located just across the PRO-7 headquarters where he was declared dead on arrival.

On why Colita was armed at that time despite being restricted and disarmed, Hife said that an investigation is ongoing to unravel this mystery.

Hife however, theorized that Colita may have an extra firearm the policeman hid somewhere or that someone might have given him one. He said that while the 11 accused policemen including Colita are restricted, visitors can visit them at their quarters.

Hife said that according to the wife of Colita, the policeman went into depression after the complaints surfaced.

Aside from extortion and illegal detention, a charge of rape was also lodged against Colita after he allegedly molested Nepomuceno. /rcg

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TAGS: extortion, Police Staff Sergeant Celso Colita, rape, Ritchie Nepomuceno, suicide

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