FIVE policemen are being hunted down in connection with an alleged robbery and abduction on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) last week after authorities captured the group’s alleged leader, Chief Inspector Joseph de Vera.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said criminal charges were filed against de Vera at the Mandaluyong City Prosecutor’s Office. De Vera and nine policemen from the La Loma Police station in Quezon City were ordered sacked from their posts. De Vera had surrendered his firearms.
Those canned and who are now subject of a police manhunt are Senior Police Officer 1 Ramil Hachero; Police Officers 2 (PO2) Ebonn Decatoria, Jerome Datinguinoo and Weavin Masa; and Police Officer 1 Mark de Paz.
PO2 Jonathan Rodriguez, a member of the District Public Safety Battalion, was also sacked for participation in the incident.
The commander of the La Loma Police station, Supt. Osmundo de Guzman, was also ordered removed.
The police also included in their manhunt a certain Police Inspector Estrera, allegedly a dismissed police officer who was also involved in the alleged robbery-abduction.
A video of the incident uploaded on social networking sites showed a white SUV being blocked by several vehicles and surrounded by several armed men in civilian clothes.
The incident happened on September 1 just a kilometer away from Camp Crame, the national headquarters of the PNP.
The Eastern Police District (EPD) under Chief Supt. Abe Villarcota organized Task Force “Wack Wack” to investigate the incident.
The probers found out that the armed men in civilian clothes were policemen from Quezon City and was headed by de Vera.
Villacorta said one the vehicles that blocked the white SUV was a Toyota Hi-ace van that belongs to de Vera.
Another car, a gray Honda Civic (ZBG 149), belongs to Marco Polo Estrera, a dismissed policeman.
Upon questioning, de Vera admitted that he was inside the van, according to Villacorta.
The occupants of the white SUV were carrying P2 million in cash at the time of the incident.
“They were carrying that amount to buy some heavy equipment,” Villacorta said in a news conference.
The victims were brought to the La Loma Police station where they were held for seven hours.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd confirmed that charges were filed against de Vera.
At the same news conference, the PNP’s Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) presented Martin Lico Jr., a kidnap-for-ransom suspect.
The AKG director, Senior Supt. Renato Gumban, said Lico was arrested by members of the AKG and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission on Sunday at Rhonavile Townhomes, Gate 1, F. Santos Avenue in Las Pinas City (Metro Manila).
Gumban added that Lico, who goes by the aliases Romeo Buluran, Bogart, Aldreen Daat, Sgt. Mutia, Romeo Hernani and Paul, was a former member of the Alferez organized crime group.
He was implicated in several kidnap-for-ransom cases in Metro Manila including that of Jose Saribong,who was killed along with his driver in Antipolo City two years ago.
Lico is facing a string of robbery cases for his involvement in a jewelry heist at SM North Edsa on December 16, 2013 and the robbery of the Land Bank Branch in Timog, Quezon City.
With FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO