10 cops axed over illegal arrest, detention of 4 Chinese women

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

February 13, 2024, 7:17 pm Updated on February 14, 2024, 1:22 pm

MANILA – National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Maj. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr., has ordered the dismissal of 10 police officers from the service for their involvement in the alleged unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention, and robbery of four Chinese nationals in a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) establishment in Parañaque City in September last year.

Ordered dismissed were Lt. Col. Jolet Guevara, Maj. Jason Quijana, Maj. John Patrick Magsalos, Capt. Sherwin Limbauan, Executive M/Sgt. Arsenio Valle, Cpl. Rexes Claveria, and Staff Sergeants Roy Pioquinto, Mark Democrito, Danilo Desder and Christian Corpuz.

“The following personnel are dismissed from the service effective February 12 for grave misconduct, grave irregularity in the performance of duty, grave neglect of duty, the conduct unbecoming of (a) police officer, less grave misconduct, less grave neglect of duty,” read the order released on Tuesday, a copy of which was obtained by the Philippine News Agency.

In House of Representatives Resolution 1471, Antipolo 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop sought a congressional probe into the irregularities committed by members of the Southern Police District - District Special Operations Unit (SPD-DSOU) during the Sept. 16, 2023 operation.

During a Jan. 23 House hearing, Acop said four female Chinese nationals – Dang Lina, Hu Yi, Lin Langping, and Li Huanhuan – were “allegedly unlawfully accosted and arrested” and were brought to a room in a condominium in Parañaque City.

Acop added that they were detained without being informed of their offense and were deprived of their right to counsel.

He also said the four Chinese women were transferred to the SPD-DSOU, where police personnel allegedly asked them to give PHP2 million each for their release.

In a hearing on Feb. 5, the House Committee on Public Order and Safety cited then Southern Police District (SPD) director Brig. Gen. Roderick Mariano and former SPD comptroller Col. Charlie Cabradilla for continuously lying during the inquiry into the incident.

The two police officials were ordered detained at the lower chamber for 30 days.

ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo manifested that the detention of the six other police officers – Guevara, Quijana, Magsalos, Pioquinto, Democrito, and Desder – whom he also earlier cited in contempt for refusing to tell the truth before the House panel, be extended for another 15 days.

In a statement Wednesday, Nartatez said the operating police personnel took “with intent to gain” the personal properties not subject of the search warrant operation amounting to more than PHP27 million.

He said these were deliberately not included in the inventory of recovered evidence.

He said it was also found that the erring policemen “intentionally” planted two firearms and two magazines in the scene. 

Nartatez also said seven police officers were demoted while 17 others were meted with of suspension without pay due to their involvement in the said operation.

He said Mariano and Cabradilla will also be subjected to administrative disciplinary proceedings "upon issuance of presidential clearance".

“Our message is clear, NCRPO and the PNP (Philippine National Police) as a whole shall not condone any and all forms of abuse and criminal behavior of our men. We are exerting all efforts to weed out all erring personnel from our ranks through our invigorated internal cleansing program. Dedicate yourselves to public service and hold yourselves accountable to every action and decision you make especially in the performance of duty,” Nartatez said. (PNA)