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5 QC cops face extortion charges

Manila, Philippines — Five Quezon City policemen, including a police officer, were charged with robbery extortion before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court for allegedly forcing a retail store owner earlier arrested for alleged illegal gun possession to shell out P200,000 in exchange for his release.

Charged with the offense were Supt. Crisostomo Mendoza, Senior Police Officer 1 Amor Guiang, PO2 Rodger Ompoy, SPO2 Dante Nagera and PO3 Jerry Ines, all assigned at Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 6.

The five respondent police officers also face charges of arbitrary detention before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court.

Complainant Muhad Pangandaman filed similar cases against Mangorsi Ampaso, president of Muslim Vendors’ Association in Litex, who allegedly was the one who informed the complainant’s relatives about the additional demand of the police officers.

The filing of the cases was based on the recommendation of Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Yvette Marie Evaristo of the Office of the Ombudsman who found probable cause to indict the respondents in court.

In his complaint, Pangandaman claimed that members of QCPD Station 6 led by Nagera allegedly illegally arrested him on Jan. 11, 2010 while tending his store at Litex IBP Road, Commonwealth Ave. Quezon City for alleged violation of the gun ban.

He said that he was brought to the police station where Nagera allegedly demanded from him the amount of P200,000 in exchange for his liberty. Through the help of Pangandaman’s relatives, the amount was raised and allegedly given to Nagera who released the complainant from detention. The complainant added that before he was released, Nagera allegedly threatened him not to tell anyone about the incident or face arrest again.

Records showed that Pangandaman filed an amended complaint dated Feb. 24, 2010 in which he included Mendoza, Ines, Guiang and Ompoy as respondents in cases since they were allegedly with Nagera at the police station when the latter demanded for the money.

The complainant alleged that in the presence of his relative, Mampao Rasul, Nagera allegedly gave the amount of P100,000 to Mendoza. In his counter-affidavit, Mendoza denied the allegations against him, saying that he does not know his co-respondent Nagera since the latter is neither assigned nor detailed at the Police Station 6.

Mendoza added that his inclusion was mere afterthought since his name was never mentioned in the complainant’s “Sinumpaang Salaysay’’ (sworn statement) dated Jan. 18, 2010. The other four respondent police officers also denied their involvement in the alleged illegal arrest and extortion. But in her six-page resolution, Evaristo explained that the respondents’ defenses are pure denial and alibi.