Nalzaro: CIDG 7 operatives probed

SOME operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7, including its acting regional director, are facing investigation by the CIDG central office for police brutality and extortion. This, following the complaint of two surplus dealers whose shop was raided by the CIDG 7 elements last December 14, 2017.

I obtained a copy of the joint letter-complaint sent to CIDG Director Roel Obusan by Mr. Santi Bhushan Sharma, proprietor of Abiha Shokai surplus, and his business partner, Ricardo Sameon, owner of JJRS Carmall and Rebuilder Shop located in north road, Basak, Mandaue City. Leo Francisco, chief of the directorial staff’s investigation division in Camp Crame ordered CIDG 7 officers to answer the charges before any formal administrative investigation would be initiated.

Told to explain and come up with an incident report are CIDG 7 chief Royina Garma; Chief Insp. Chuck Barandog, who was the team leader, Senior Insp. Edwin Costales, SPO4 Pablo Gintalian, PO1 Lino Conjurado and PO1 Maximo Medina.

It was a joint operation with the Highway Patrol Group 7, the Talisay City police and the provincial police office led by senior Insp. Maricar Bornea. Garma was not directly involved in the operation, but being the head, she is responsible for her men’s action.

The complainants narrated that on December 14, at around 3 p.m., the operatives in civilian clothes introduced themselves as buyers and entered at the yard of Shokai in Barangay Linao, Talisay City. Once inside, they declared themselves as policemen. When Mr. Sharma questioned them since they were not in proper uniform and were not armed with a search warrant, an unidentified policeman punched him in the stomach. Bornea then allegedly ordered one of her personnel to get the search warrant left in her office at the Cebu Provincial Police Office.

Sharma’s live in partner, Merbeth Manto, who is also the President of the company, called Mr. Sameon, a business partner, to come and help them explain to the authorities on the legitimacy of their business. When Sameon arrived, he was reportedly told by an operative that they also raided a similar business in Lapu-Lapu City but everything was settled upon payment of certain amount.

The operatives allegedly demanded P1 million from Mr. Sharma and threatened him that if he could not pay the amount all the displayed items in the establishment would be seized. Sharma alleged that he produced P350,000 for a sort of’settlement. Bornea allegedly received the money. But despite this, the operatives brought Sharma to the CIDG 7 headquarters and seized a Nissan Elf from his display. The following day, he was charged for violating Republic Act 8506, which bans the registration and operation of vehicles with right hand steering wheel.

Sameon argued that Sharma did not violate the law because he did not use or operate right hand drive vehicles. The confiscated vehicle was only stored in Sharma’s yard. Because of the incident, Sharma is in the state of fear and apparently got discouraged in pursuing his business.

I hope this will be thoroughly and properly investigated as this will paint a negative image on our police force. (We failed to get the CIDG operatives’ side.)
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