Cops liable for water district man's arrest

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


THE arrest of a Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) senior architectural draftsman last week can be considered kidnapping and the police officers involved must be held liable, lawyer Edgardo Cabanlas, former city councilor, said.

Four police officers served the warrant of arrest to Emmanuel Mulawan Sr. while he was punching out his time card midday of June 11, 2014.

Mulawan has been accused of rape. After his arrest, he was detained at Gitagum police station and was flown to Imus Cavite in Manila on June 12, 2014.

Witnesses and Mulawan’s family described the arrest as ‘dinali-dali’ (rushed).

Cabanlas was initially assigned by Mayor Oscar Moreno to handle Mulawan’s case. Cabanlas called the abrupt arrest to be “fishy, dubious and murky.”

“From the arrest to the flight, everything is questionable. I myself have so many questions in mind. The entire operation had no transparency and I am one hundred percent sure of that,” Cabanlas said.

He said that the method of the operation should have observed proper jurisdiction.

The arresting officers were said to be tasked by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Manila.

But, he said, in cases like rape which was “typical” and “normal,” the city where the suspect is located is a jurisdiction of the local police.

“Rape is a normal case so whenever CIDG Manila will issue a warrant of arrest, the city police should know about it first and they themselves will arrest the suspect. Looking at Mulawan’s case, it should not be the Gitagum police station gyud. Whether it was the CIDG Manila [who] tasked the Gitagum police or not, jurisdictions must be observed. To cut it even short, CIDG Manila could have tasked CIDG Cagayan de Oro for an immediate and legitimate operation,” Cabanlas said.

However, he said the Gitagum police firmed their decision of arresting Mulawan.

“They really insisted that they were tasked by CIDG Manila and that they have the right to arrest Mulawan. My question also is: if they [Gitagum police station] are in the jurisdiction of the province of Misamis Oriental, then the provincial police should have known this. How come they [provincial police] do not know about this at all? There was no voucher given to them stating about the situation and the conduct of the operation,” he said.

Roundtrip tickets

Cabanlas added that the airfare tickets of the four policemen and Mulawan were on a round trip.

“It makes me wonder why they are roundtrip tickets. It goes to show that it was really planned already. Set before he was arrested,” he said.

Cabanlas sought answers by going to Gitagum police station, but unfortunately, none of the policemen could answer him properly.

“Tuklod-tuklod ang style. When I asked who the chief of police is, nobody dared to answer. Police, as part of their credibility as policemen, should tell the truth. They were just mum the whole time I was interrogating them,” he said.

Cabanlas went through the paper trail, a written document of a transmission between the CIDG Manila and Gitagum police station. However, he found none.

If CIDG Manila did not help in transporting Mulawan from the city to Imus where he should be detained, then the Gitagum police are responsible for funding their airfares.

Since Cabanlas did not see any written transmitted document, he questioned who financed the flight. But Gitagum police did not tell who provided the airfare.

Meanwhile, this paper learned that Mulawan has been transferred to Regional Trial Court Branch 90 from 19 on Monday morning, June 16. By evening, he was brought to the legal counsel in Cavite.

The family filed a petition against the policemen who were responsible of Mulawan’s arrest.

Cabanlas held the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus since the warrant of arrest was legitimate.

Another lawyer is now handling Mulawan’s case due to conflict of schedule but he would assist especially in gathering important details and files.

The First Labor Organization of Cagayan de Oro Water District (Flow) is conducting prayer rallies for Mulawan’s safety and of the rape case filed against him.

Flow president Antonio Young told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro by phone that Mulawan is innocent.

“We have one strong proof that he is not guilty. The complaint was dated June 21, 2013. According to our biometrics data, he was physically here. I do not think that the biometrics machine lies,” Young said.

“We will continue this prayer rally until he (Mulawan) gets out,” he ended.

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

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