JUST hours after reporting back to work after his vacation abroad, Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu bade goodbye to Police Station 2 yesterday afternoon.

He went to the office of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) officer-in-charge Marciano Batiancela Jr. past 3 p.m. to seek temporary relief from his post as chief of Police Station 2 (formerly Fuente Police Station).

“I believe this decision to step down will help protect the integrity of Police Station 2 and for the public to be at ease while I’m under investigation,” Tiu told Sun.Star Cebu.

He will start reporting to the CCPO headquarters today, while Chief Inspector David Señor will sit again as officer-in-charge of Police Station 2.

Tiu stood by his earlier statement that he and his personnel were not responsible for the death of 11-year-old Chastity Mirabiles.

If there’s someone who should be held liable for the child’s death, Tiu said, it should be her mother Noemi and her live-in partner Mario Buyoc, 29.

Tiu said that many times he would see the mother and Chastity on Gen. Maxilom Ave. and the young girl begging on the street under extreme heat or under the rain.

He said Chastity was not brought to the station the night before she died on April 6 as her name was not logged in the police station’s pink blotter, where names of rescued minors are recorded.

The closed circuit television (CCTV) footage of an establishment on Gen. Maxilom Ave. would also show that Chastity was in that area and not in the police station that night, Tiu said.

He also said that with the things he found out in his own investigation, “the background of Chastity’s family should be checked.”

Buyoc is said to have mauled Chastity, but Noemi denied that her partner had hurt the child.

But since there is an ongoing investigation on the complaint, Tiu said he and the station’s personnel are ready to face the allegations against them.

Also yesterday, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 assistant director Eric Isidoro urged Tiu to face the investigation and submit his counter affidavit.

“Actually, we already sent a letter to him. I hope he will appear in our office to shed light on the incident,” he said.

Isidoro said the testimony of a child, who reportedly saw police officers maul Chastity inside Police Station 2, was consistent.

In earlier reports, NBI 7 had said that the child witness did not tag Tiu as the person who hurt Chastity.

Isidoro, however, said they still need the police official’s statement.

After the child witness was interviewed last April 29, NBI 7 investigators faced the child again.

They let her identify the police who mauled Chastity through photographs.

Two sets of pictures of Police Station 2 personnel from the National Police Commission and Police Station 2 were shown to the child.

Isidoro said the child pointed to the same persons who had hurt Chastity.

The autopsy performed by NBI 7 medico-legal officer Dr. Rene Cam showed that Chastity died because of “blunt traumatic injuries” to the chest and abdomen.

Cam also found bruises on her right arm, chest, armpit and abdomen.

As for comments that he left the country for a six-week vacation to avoid the investigation, he said this was not the case. He said that he applied for a vacation leave last January yet and it was approved last March.

The controversy on the death of Chastity was reported last April 18.

Other allegations

Tiu refused to comment on the other allegations, such as the hair shaving of some children and the molestation of a commercial sex worker who was detained inside the station.

He said he prefers to answer the allegations in court and not while the investigation is ongoing.

He suspects that a syndicate is behind the accusations against him and his men.

“Sometimes naa gyod tay masagasaan (we hurt some people’s business) who are into money-making activities such as using children in their business and at times.

It’s the parents who are pushing their children to do it,” Tiu said.

Tiu said the controversy will not affect the police station’s service to the public.

“My men, well, I can see in their face that they have high morale. They are ready to continue their job,” Tiu said, smiling.

“Rest assured that the station will continue to serve and fulfill their duties and responsibilities to protect the city of Cebu and the Cebuano people, and will continue to fight against criminality,” he said.

After granting reporters an interview yesterday morning, Tiu rushed to Osmena Blvd. to clear the streets of mendicants, some of whom are children.

He then instructed his personnel to bring the children to the station’s Women and Children’s Protection Desk so they could take a bath.

“Day to day I go around the city and see these kids and we are risking their lives. I mean as a police officer, I cannot just turn around as if I have seen nothing because I can see the risk, that they could be hit by vehicles and they are vulnerable and can be used by syndicates, so we need to rescue them,” Tiu said.

Smiles for Tiu

While Tiu was walking, some sidewalk vendors smiled at him and told him how his month-long absence worsened the problem on street dwellers in the area.

Although Tiu did not bring a social worker when he rescued street children yesterday, he said he will follow the protocol next time.

He said no matter how unholy the hour, he would wake someone from DSWD up.

Tiu described the allegations as “disheartening” and “damaging.”

“It is very inhumane, unlikely. Mahimo ba gud na nato nga kulatahon ang usa ka bata nga unsa man guy gibuhat ana nga dili man na kriminal (How can we maul a child when she was not even a criminal)?,” Tiu said.

He said he hopes that the truth will prevail.