The Philippine National Police (PNP) ordered the relief of the entire police forces of the municipalities of Cabugao and San Juan in Ilocos Sur following the death of a 15-year-old who was gunned down shortly after filing a sexual assault complaint against two policemen.
Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, director of the Police Regional Office 1, who ordered the relief directive, said a case of obstruction of justice was also filed against Capt. Ramil Llarenas, Cabugao police chief, a police sergeant, and a barangay captain for ignoring then girl’s request police escort.
Earlier, two counts of rape and murder charges were already filed against the two policemen from the San Juan Police Station.
“The leadership of Police Regional Office 1 and the whole PNP organization joins the entire Filipino community in the strongest condemnation of the killing of the 15-year old girl allegedly by two of our policemen, in Ilocos Sur,” said Azurin in a statement.
“While we express our sincerest condolences and sympathy to the bereaved family, we assure that this leadership is doing its best to resolve this case as early as possible to give justice to the victims,” he added.
Part of the effort, according to Azurin, is the filing of obstruction of justice against Llarenas, Police Staff Sgt. Merly Joy Pascua, and Barangay Captain Ricardo Quilala for failure to ensure the normal procedure in handling sex assault-related offenses, especially victimizing minors.
“Personnel of Cabugao and San Juan Municipal Police Stations together with their Chiefs of Police were already relieved from their respective posts and will have to undergo retraining,” said Azurin.
“As such, we cannot assure their return at said police stations for we will be stringent in vetting and screening all personnel to be assigned at Ilocos Sur
Police Provincial Office,” he added.
Based on the initial result of the investigation, the 15-year-old victim and his uncle, who accompanied her to file a complaint against Police Staff Sgts. Marawi Torda and Randy Ramos had requested for security, especially on their way home from the police station, over fear of reprisal from the two cops.
But instead of granting the request, Pascua, who was assigned to the Women and Children Protection Desk of Cabugao Police Station, reportedly got irked and ignored them. This forced the 15-year-old victim, his uncle, and another relative to go home on their own.
On their way back home, motorcycle-riding men arrived and gunned down the 15-year-old complainant.
A case of murder was already filed against Torda and Ramos.
“Also, a request for ballistics examination of the personal firearm of Police Staff Sergeant Ramos to Firearms and Explosive Division was already initiated by the Regional Crime Laboratory Office 1,” said Azurin.
Police records show that Torda and Ramos accosted the 15-year-old girl and her 18-year-old cousin for allegedly violating curfew in San Juan town. Instead of taking them to the barangay hall or the police station, the two cops took the two girls to a place where they allegedly raped the 18-year-old girl and molested the younger one.
The 15-year-old victim was able to flee and filed a complaint against the two cops.
“We already filed two counts of rape against the two policemen,” said Azurin.
General Archie Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), vowed to dismiss the two policemen within 15 days starting Monday.