2 police officials in hot water for failing to report ‘hot’ van-A A +A
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A POLICE official and his subordinate will face investigation for allegedly failing to report a suspected carnapped vehicle right under the noses of their superiors.
Chief Insp. Romeo Santander and PO2 Joel Cunan of Cebu City Police Office’s City Intelligence Branch will have to explain why a Starex van owned by a Korean national was allegedly recovered near Cunan’s house.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Marcelo Garbo Jr. ordered the administrative inquiry after the van was found by the CIB, a week before the recovery of more stolen vehicles in Metro Cebu.
Senior Supt. Harry Domingo of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) 7 said they traced the van allegedly to Cunan’s house after they were tipped by Raphael “Raprap” Montilla.
Montilla, together with two Korean nationals, was arrested last Feb. 19 on suspicion that the three were involved in a string of car thefts.
CCPO Acting Director Mariano Natu-el Jr., in his men’s defense, said there was a mix-up of information.
Last Feb. 15, he recalled he instructed Santander to check on the van in Barangay Langtad, Naga City after the vehicle of former PBA basketball star Ramon Fernandez went missing.
Santander, in coordination with Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) and Highway Patrol Group (HPG), went to the area and saw the van that was being sold for P50,000 in the residence of Merlita Pacquiao.
Pacquiao cooperated with police, upon her lawyer’s advice. She said the van had been pawned by a certain “Bedik” to her uncle Roquito Papas.
Natu-el said they figured out that Bedik was a son of a Talisay City councilor.
However, Pacquiao failed to present any documents of ownership of the vehicle because Bedik didn’t leave anything to her.
When the police checked the records at HPG, the red van (JDF-545) was not among the vehicles that were allegedly carnapped by a Korean syndicate.
Pacquiao offered to help the police to clear her uncle’s name.
Natu-el said that Santander had decided not to confiscate the car but instead put it for safekeeping in case the owner will claim the vehicle.
“Basin sila na hinuoy makasuhan ug carnapping (They were wary in case they’d be the ones charged with carnapping),” he said.
Pacquiao then decided to bring the van to her friend’s car shop in Talisay City, which was contrary to a claim it was in Cunan’s possession.
Natuel said they again checked the records of the van and found out it belonged to Don Hee Kim, a Korean national.
However, there was no address in the document and the van was temporarily impounded in PRO 7.
Natuel said their failure to submit a report on the incident was not deliberately done to defy lawful authority.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 27, 2013.