Police major fears for life after murder of complainant in extortion, rape raps versus 11 cops

Published April 21, 2021, 4:52 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY — A police major fears for his safety following the murder here of a 35-year-old woman who filed a string of charges against a group of policemen.

Police Major Alejandro Batobalonos, chief of the Philippine National Police Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group-Visayas Field Unit (IMEG-VFU), said he didn’t know what hit him after learning that Ritchie Nepomuceno was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding assailants in Barangay Basak-Pardo around 6 p.m. Monday.

“Sa nahitabo ni Nepomuceno, mura ko’g na blangko unsa akong buhaton kay nibati pud ko’g kabalaka sa akong security (Because of what happened to Nepomuceno, I felt confused. I don’t know what to do because I am also worried over my security),” said Batobalonos.

IMEG-VFU had assisted Nepomuceno in filing criminal charges against 11 policemen from the Sawang Police Calero Station in this city.

Nepomuceno accused the 11 policemen of threatening and extorting money from her.

One of the policemen, Staff Sgt. Celso Colita, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head inside the toilet of the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Group office.

Nepomuceno had accused Colita of raping her twice in a motel.

The supposed suicide took place about three hours after Nepomuceno was killed.

Alejandro said while he is used to threats as a law enforcer, steps have to be taken to ensure his security.

“I’ll just pray to the Lord for protection. I just have to make some changes in the itinerary and just be extra careful,” said Batobalonos.

Batobalonos said he was placed in a difficult situation since the people being accused are law enforcers like him.

Batobalonos added he was hoping that the parties involved will understand that he was just doing his job.

“It is not like I am accusing anyone of anything. There is an investigation,” he said.

Aside from his safety, Batobalonos said he was also worried that the killing of Nepomuceno may also affect the morale of other complainants.

“We will talk to them to provide moral support,” said Batobalonos.

Police are still investigating the motives behind Nepomuceno’s murder.

Love triangle and illegal drug trade are being looked into as possible motives.

The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said there were reports that the woman had taken over the drug business of her live-in partner who is currently detained at the Cebu City Jail for drug charges.

Rivalry in the illegal drug trade is also being looked into as possible motive, said Police Col. Josefino Ligan, chief of CCPO.

Police were also investigating if the killing had something to do with the woman’s decision to make peace and reunite with her estranged husband.