Policeman Colita’s medical check-up valid reason to leave camp – CCPO chief
Colonel Ligan explains why cop under restricted custody allowed to go out of camp
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) insisted that Police Staff Sergeant Celso Colita did not violate camp restriction policies after records showed he went out on the day the 35-year-old woman, who accused him of rape and extortion, was killed.
Police Colonel Josefino Ligan, director of CCPO, said Colita’s intentions to go out of Camp Sergio Osmeña on Monday morning, April 19 for ‘medical reasons’ were valid.
“I didn’t say nga wala gyud nakagawas si Colita. As far as I know, because he is in restricted custody, dili gyud na sila kagawas. Unless naay legitimate reason pareha anang court hearing, court duty, ug kanang mag-medical,” Ligan told reporters in a recent phone interview.
(I didn’t say Colita never really went out. As far as I know, and because he is in restricted custody, he cannot go out. Unless there are legitimate reasons like a court hearing, court duty, and medical checkups.)
“In short, kung naa nang mga valid reasons, makagawas na sila, provided nga naay escort. So mao nay nahitabo nganong nakagawas sya anang adlawa,” he added.
(In short, if there are valid reasons, they can go out, provided they have an escort. That’s what happened to him when he went out last Monday.)
Earlier, the police here said that Colita and 10 other cops from Sawang Calero Police Station have been under restricted custody in Camp Sergio Osmeña since March.
They were relieved from their posts following cases of rape and extortion filed against them by Ritchie Nepomuceno, a 35-year-old businesswoman from Barangay Tungkil, Minglanilla town, in south Cebu.
But last Monday, Nepomuceno was shot along N. Bacalso Avenue in Barangay Basak-Pardo, Cebu City by still unidentified gunmen onboard a motorcycle.
Hours after, Colita was found dead inside the toilet in the Regional Special Operatives Group in Camp Sergio Osmeña with a gunshot wound on his head, allegedly a result of suicide.
Records recently obtained by CDN Digital at Camp Sergio Osmeña recently showed that Colita went out for a ‘medical check-up’ at 8:37 a.m. on Monday.
He was escorted by a certain Police Corporal Christopher Lorete.
They returned to the camp at 6 p.m. or minutes after Nepomuceno was gunned down in Barangay Basak- Pardo and nearly three hours before Colita reportedly took his own life.
Investigators here are considering multiple angles to shed light on Nepomuceno’s death, but they said that they found ‘no foul play’ on Colita’s case.
The angles investigated included the elements of ‘love triangle’, and the possibility that she was linked to high-profile drug peddlers in Cebu.
Despite these, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) has ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to investigate if their deaths are linked.
RELATED STORY: CCPO eyes drugs, love triangle in Nepomuceno’s killing
Aside from Colita, other policemen from Sawang Calero Police Station charged were Chief Master Sergeant Eric Edgar Ernia; Staff Sergeants Joseph Alcoseba and Michael Rhey Cabizares; and Corporals Emmanuel Martinez, Rochelito Mabulay, Ejill Ferrolino, Carlo Irizari, Junel Pedroza, John Carl Aceron and Georny Abrasado.
Nepomuceno reported that the police officers raided her house in Minglanilla last March 9 without presenting any warrant and that they took several of her personal properties and valuables, including jewelry and a motorcycle.
Based on her complaints submitted to the police’s Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group in the Visayas (IMEG-Visayas), she was placed under the custody of Sawang Calero Police Station but her arrest was not recorded in the blotter.
She added that they allegedly forced her to withdraw P170,000 from her bank accounts through multiple ATMs (automated teller machines) and that Colita, later on, took her to a motel where she was allegedly raped.
The complainant was only released on March 11.
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