Cebu cop out of camp when complainant was killed

Published April 22, 2021, 2:47 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – He was supposed to be under camp restriction but where was Police Staff Sgt. Celso Colita at the time when the woman who accused him of extortion and rape was killed?

BLOODY ENDING. Police Staff Sgt. Celso Colita was found slumped on the floor of a toilet where he allegedly shot himself in the head Monday night, April 19. (Photo courtesy of Benjie Talisic/MANILA BULLETIN)

Entry in the logbook of the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7) headquarters in Camp Sergio Osmena here showed that he was out on the day that Ritchie Nepomuceno was gunned down around 6 p.m. last Monday.

Nepomuceno had filed criminal charges against Colita and 10 other policemen. Aside from accusing the policemen of extortion, the woman also accused Colita of raping her twice.

In what was described by police as suicide, Colita was found dead with a bullet wound in the head inside the toilet of Regional Police Drug Enforcement Group office about three hours after Nepomuceno was fatally shot by motorcycle-riding assailants on N. Bacalsio Ave., Barangay Basak Pardo here.

Colita and 10 other policemen were disarmed and placed under camp restriction at the PRO 7 headquarters following Nepomuceno’s filing of charges against them.

In the logbook, Colita went out for a medical checkup at 8:37 a.m. He was escorted by a one Police Corporal Christopher Lorete. The two police officers returned to the camp around 6 p.m. or shortly after Nepomuceno was killed.

Police Col. Josefino Ligan, director of CCPO, said while Colita was under camp restriction, he was still allowed to go out if the reason was valid.

Ligan said nothing was violated when Colita left the camp for a medical checkup. “I didn’t say that Colita didn’t really go out. As far as I know, because he is in restricted custody he should not be allowed to go out unless there is a legitimate reason such as attending court hearing, court duty or for medical reason,” Ligan said.

Even with valid reason, a police officer who is under camp restriction should be escorted when going out. “That’s what happened why he was able to go out last Monday,” Ligan said.

Aside from Colita, the other policemen involved in the case were Police Chief Master Sgt. Eric Edgar Ernia; Police Staff Sergeants Joseph Alcoseba and Michael Rhey Cabizares; and Police Corporals Emmanuel Martinez, Rochelito Mabulay, Ejill Ferrolino, Carlo Irizari, Junel Pedroza, John Carl Aceron, and Georny Abrasado.

Love triangle and illegal drugs trade were the angles that investigators were pursuing as possible motives in the killing of Nepomuceno.