11 cops face raps for killing two men in fake anti-narcotics ops

Eleven anti-narcotics policemen of the City of San Jose del Monte (CSJDM), Bulacan are facing criminal complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for abducting two men and killing them during a fabricated anti-illegal drugs operations last February.

The National Bureau of Investigation Death Investigation Division (NBI-DID) filed the complaint on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

In its complaint, the NBI-DID identified the respondents as members of the intelligence section of the City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) of the CSJDM Police Office.

They are CDEU chief Maj. Leo Commendador dela Rosa; Staff Sergeants Benjie de Castro Enconada, Jayson Morales Legaspi, Irwin Joy Morfe Yuson, and Edmund Villamar Catubay Jr.; Corporals Jay Marc Mabasa Leoncio, Herbert Linoy Hernandez, Raymond Babida Bayan, and Paul Jimenez Malgapo; and Patrolmen Erwin Oplimo Sabido and Rusco Virnar Alcaraz Madla.

The NBI-DID asked the DOJ’s National Prosecution Service (NPS) to conduct a preliminary investigation against the 11 policemen who are accused of kidnapping/serious illegal detention with murder under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); for planting of firearms in violation of the Republic Act 10591, the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act; and for planting of illegal drugs in violation of RA 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The case concerns the abduction and killing of Erwin Mergal and Jim Joshua Cordero in San Jose del Monte back in February.

The NBI-DID said that the police spot report indicated that Mergal and Cordero were killed when they engaged policemen in a gunfight during an anti-illegal drugs buy-bust operation conducted by the CDEU last Feb. 18 along Pacolis Road in Barangay Gaya-Gaya, CSJDM.

“Allegedly recovered from Erwin and JJ were a caliber .38 Armscor revolver, an improvised shotgun and several sachets containing shabu,” the NBI-DID cited the police spot report.

However, the NBI-DID said witnesses have revealed that the two victims were among six men who were blocked and taken while passing by the house of a certain Edwardo Macapanas, alias Edwin, in Towerville in Barangay Santo Cristo, CSJDM on the night of Feb. 13.

That same night, the CDEU conducted an anti-illegal drugs operation against Macapanas.

“Several minutes later, Erwin and JJ passed by Edwin’s house on a motorcycle. They were flagged down, and searched by the Operatives before they were brought inside Edwin’s house, then forcibly made to board the white van,” the NBI-DID said.

The NBI-DID learned that the six men were taken to the intelligence office of CSJDM Police Office on the night of Feb. 13 while “blindfolded, hog-tied, and detained thereat.”

It said that a volunteer who watched the six men was able “to take photographs of them while they were under detention inside the CSJDM Police Office during the early hours of February 14, 2020.”