THIRTY-NINE police personnel assigned at Parian Police Station in Cebu City were relieved following the arrest of a cop who was caught for extortion on Monday, March 19.
Police Regional Office-Central Visayas Director Robert Quenery ordered the relief Tuesday, March 20, after Police Officer 3 Ritchie Saguilabon was caught in an entrapment operation by members of the Counter Intelligence Task Force Visayas at Sanciangko corner Junquera streets on March 19.
Saguilabon allegedly extorted P20,000 from a drug suspect he arrested in exchange for the dropping of the latter's charges and his release from prison.
READ: Cebu City policeman arrested for extortion
Included in the relief order was the Parian chief, Chief Insp. Ramoncelio Sawan. All the officers concerned will undergo a 15-day retraining program in the Regional Training Center in Consolacion, on orders of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Joel Doria. That will include back-to-basics training and moral development.
But why were all the station’s officers relieved of their duties?
“It appears that PO3 Saquilabon has acted with complicity with two other personnel of the Parian Police Station to include a barangay tanod in the extortion. But investigation is now going on to determine the extent of (participation of) the three others who were not arrested,” Quenery said.
Saquilabon, together with two beat patrollers and a barangay tanod from Parian, allegedly conducted an unofficial operation last Monday morning against suspected drug pusher Richie Labus. The Parian Police Station was not informed of the operation and the arrest.
Gloria Labus, 64, Richie’s mother, complained to the CITF national headquarters about Saquilabon’s alleged negotiation to release her son in exchange for money.
That afternoon, the CITF coordinated with Gloria after Saquilabon allegedly texted her to deliver P20,000 near a government office on Sanciangko corner Junquera St.
During the entrapment, Saquilabon gave four locations for the payoff, until he was caught in Sanciangko. The two beat patrollers and tanod fled, Quenery said.
“What is important here is that we send a strong signal for the others not to follow PO3 Saquilabon, who is a disgrace to the organization,” Quenery said.
Hours after the relief, Doria ushered in the new personnel from the City Mobile Force Company, based in the mountain barangay of Pung-ol, Sibugay, to replace the relieved officers. Doria said that the new Parian chief will be Chief Insp. Kenneth Paul Albotra from the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO).
The city director said that he was shocked by Saquilabon’s arrest, considering the recent salary increase of the Philippine National Police. A Police Officer 3 can earn more than P30,000, including benefits and allowances.
The Parian Police Station covers the barangays of Parian, Kamagayan, San Antonio, Lorega, Zapatera, T. Padilla and Day-as as their areas of responsibility. (JOB)