Ranking police in Oro nabbed for ‘extortion’

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno urged the Philippine National Police in Northern Mindanao to uphold the law without favor after one of its ranking police officials was nabbed at a hotel here Monday afternoon for his involvement in alleged extortion activities.

Police Superintendent John Michael Deloso, chief of the traffic division of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office, and PO3 Ernesto Galito were nabbed by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Northern Mindanao (NBI-10).

This after lawyer Ernie Palanan, outgoing president of Xavier Heights Jeepney Drivers and Operators Association, sought help to entrap Deloso for allegedly extorting from the drivers who are members of the said transport group.

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Palanan handed Galito an envelope containing P2,000 and Deloso who came later got the envelope with P4,000. The said monthly fee is allegedly for the protection of drivers from apprehensions on traffic violations.

Moreno is expecting the police would conduct thorough investigation on Deloso’s case and other possible irregularities he could have committed.

“Nobody is above the law. The law is supreme and it has to be upheld. This case is disturbing and disconcerting since he is one of the top police officials in the region. But at the end of the day, the law must be enforced,” Moreno said.

Deloso relieved

When asked if he received reports on Deloso’s alleged irregularities, Moreno said he did and even brought it to the attention of Deloso’s superiors for possible actions two months ago.

“I told PSSupt. Graciano Mijares, the city police chief, about it and he also brought the matter to his superiors. And last week, I was informed by him (Mijares) that Deloso beginning today, Monday (March 17) would be relieved from his post,” he said by phone Monday evening.

Mijares confirmed that Deloso was relieved from his post as traffic chief.

“Pending the investigation being conducted against him by NBI-10 he is reassigned to our admin and holding section. We are waiting for the criminal charges to be filed by NBI-10. We will initiate administrative charges if the situation warrants. Rest assured of our cooperation while we also pray that he will be accorded with due process,” Mijares wrote in a text message sent to this paper.

Insult to the core

For his part, councilor Ramon Tabor, chair of the committee on police, fire and public safety, said the incident is an insult to the core considering it involved a ranking police officer of Cocpo.

“He has to answer for what he has done and I hope there isn’t a foul play and it was a regular entrapment. This is a message for all to take care of our names and our positions. Sayang... sayang ang kahago nya to get to his position only to be tarnished if ever that incident is valid,” Tabor said.

Redress

In a radio interview on Zona Libre of Bombo Radyo Monday evening, Palanan said he had nothing personal against the police involved but he just wanted to seek redress on behalf of the drivers affected.

“Mga gagmay’ng tawo kini sa kadalanan naningkamot sa ilang singot ug dugo arun mabuhi. I could have opted to ignore this since I am an operator, but seeing their woes, I decided to fight for them. It wasn't an easy decision considering the people involved but justice must be served,” Palanan said.

The NBI refused to comment on the case at presstime since they are still preparing the documents for the inquest of Deloso at the City Fiscal Office today, March 18.

Warned

Last month, Chief Inspector Lemuel Gonda, Cocpo’s chief of operations and plans branch, warned police officers engaged in possible irregularities especially illegal gambling to face the consequence of administrative charges once caught.

Gonda urged the public to secure video footages or pictures that would support their claims, and assured that the Cocpo leadership would not hesitate to sanction erring police officers.

In January also this year, Police Superintendent Michael Pareja, PNP regional spokesman, said getting rid of illegal gambling activities is one of the top priorities of Chief Superintendent Isagani Genabe Jr., the newly installed police regional director for Northern Mindanao.

In his speech, Genabe did not promise anything, but said his main task is to curb down criminality.

This paper called Deloso's mobile telephone to hear his side, but he didn't pick up.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 18, 2014.

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