‘Erring’ cops on tight watch

THE Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) has been monitoring the 13 police officers who were relieved from their posts at the Sawang Calero Police Station in Cebu City after three women accused them of illegally arresting and detaining them in a “secret jail.”

The police officers are now assigned in the holding unit of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 headquarters pending the result of the internal investigation.

Lt. Col. Ryan Devaras, CCPO deputy director for administration, said the officers’ movements are limited and they are inside the PRO 7 camp most of the time so they can be easily called for questioning.

The officers have undergone drug testing as ordered by CCPO Director Col. Josefino Ligan, who wants to find out who among them are drug users.

The police officers who will test positive for drug use will face other administrative charges.

Since reports about the alleged irregularities committed by the relieved officers surfaced, Ligan has been visiting the police stations every day to remind his fellow public servants to do what is right.

The CCPO has never stopped its moral recovery program led by pastors who give spiritual guidance to police officers, said Devaras.

Previous reports

Earlier reports had stated that 11 officers from the Sawang Police Station—10 drug enforcement unit (DEU) operatives and the police chief—were relieved from their posts after a woman from Minglanilla reported to the the Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group (IMEG) Visayas Field Unit that she was illegally arrested by the DEU operatives and detained in the “secret jail.”

The DEU team leader Staff Sergeant Celso Colita allegedly forced the woman to withdraw P170,000 from her bank account, and he later raped her inside a motel.

Criminal charges were filed against the DEU team members, and a separate rape complaint was filed against Colita.

Maj. Eduard Sanchez was relieved as the Sawang Calero Police Station chief for failing to supervise his men.

Two more officers from Sawang Calero Police Station were relieved after a businesswoman in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City reported to the IMEG that she was also illegally arrested by Colita’s team, and her jewelry was stolen.

A woman (not two as earlier reported) sought the help of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) 7 as she was also illegally detained in the “secret jail.”

The CHR 7 inspected the Sawang Police Station with the woman on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. But they failed to find the reported secret room. (AYB / KAL)