11 Cebu City cops face robbery, rape charges

Published March 31, 2021, 1:52 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY—Eleven policemen were relieved from their posts after they allegedly robbed a woman, whom they accused of keeping illegal drugs and unlicensed firearms in her house.
One of the policemen was also accused of raping the woman not once but twice.
The policemen were identified as Police Staff Sgt. Celso Colita, Police Chief Master Sgt. Eric Edgar Emia, Police Cpl. Rochelito Mabulay, Police Cpl. Emmanuel Martinez, Police Staff Sgt. Joseph Alcoseba, Police Staff Sgt. Michael Rhey Cabizares, Police Cpl. Carlo Irizari, Police Cpl. Junel Pedroza, Police Cpl. John Carl Aceron and Police Cpl. Georny Abrasado.
The policemen were members of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Sawang Calero Police Station in Cebu City.
Colita was the team leader of the unit and was the one accused of raping the drug suspect in a motel.
Police Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, chief of the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7), said the 11 policemen have been disarmed and were transferred to the Regional Police Holding Admin Unit.
Montejo said Colita was charged with two counts of rape while the 10 other policemen were charged with grave coercion, robbery and grave threats.
The charges were filed before the City Prosecutors’ Office.
The chief of the Sawang Calero police, Major Eduard Sanchez, was also relieved and was replaced by Major Erano Regidor.
“The station commander of Police Station 6 was immediately relieved and he will also be investigated for possible lapses, for not being able to supervise his men,” said Police Col. Josefino Ligan, chief of the Cebu City Police Office.
According to the investigation conducted by the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group-Visayas Field Unit (IMEG-VFU), the 11 policemen arrested a 35-year-old woman in Barangay Tungkil, Minglanilla town, southern Cebu last March 9.
IMEG-VFU said that the 11 policemen searched the house of the woman on suspicion that she was keeping illegal drugs and unlicensed firearms.
On March 10, the woman was brought to the Sawang Calero Police Station but the operation was not recorded in a police blotter.
The woman was then brought to a bank and was asked to withdraw P170,000.
From the bank, the woman was brought to a motel in Barangay Mambaling where she was allegedly sexually abused.
It was around 5 p.m. when the woman was brought back to the police station.
On March 11, the woman was brought home by Colita.
The woman then sought help from IMEG-VFU.
“I am very disappointed. We will not tolerate this kind of activities by our policemen. If proven guilty, they have to face the consequences of their actions,” Montejo said in a press briefing Tuesday.
In a separate interview Wednesday, Police Maj. Alejandro Batobalonos, chief of IMEG-VFU, said another woman came forward and accused Colita’s group of abuses.
Batobalonos said Colita and Martinez were among the six policemen who were identified in the fresh complaint.
“We are still investigating the new complaint but initially, the woman said she was tortured by the six policemen,” said Batobalonos.
The alleged abuse happened in a “secret room” of Sawang Calero Police Station.
“We will be filing additional charges against the six policemen,” said Batobalonos.