Sunday, January 29, 2012

'Accuser's kin all in drug business'

MANILA, Philippines - The Northern Police District (NPD) anti-illegal drugs division officials charged with extortion before the National Police Commission said yesterday the complainant only wanted to get back at them for arresting her relatives for drug offenses.
Chief Inspector Romeo Ricalde Jr., NPD-District Anti-Illegal Drugs (DAID) Special Operations Task Group head, said the family of Editha Morales, 33, a resident of Bagong Barrio in Caloocan City, is at the top of their list of suspected drug peddlers.
“The complainant’s husband is in jail for a drug offense, her mother and her three siblings were also arrested for the same offense. Drug peddling is their family’s business,” Ricalde told The STAR yesterday.
Ricalde said Editha’s younger siblings – Christopher, Peter and Bernadeth – all residents of Bagong Barrio in Caloocan City, have been charged with drug offenses by the NPD-DAID. Senior Police Officer 1 Fernando Gomboc led the team who arrested them.
Editha’s mother Edna, and Editha’s two other sisters – Irene and Daisy – were arrested by the Caloocan City police anti-narcotics unit, he said.
Ricalde said on Dec. 30, 2011, his men also conducted a drug bust targeting Edna’s other brother, identified only as “Pogi,” in Bagong Barrio but failed to arrest him.
Chance encounter
On Jan. 3, at around 4 p.m., Ricalde tasked a team led by Police Officer 3 Doelethone Gatdula to turn over to the custody of the Caloocan City Jail drug suspect Brandon Buenaventura.
Ricalde said when his men were about to return to the DAID office, they encountered Editha and Edna outside the jail. The two women confronted the police officers about their failed operation against Pogi, accusing them of trying to shoot him.
Gatdula told Editha and Edna to follow them to their office if they want to file a formal complaint, Ricalde said.
Record at the DAID blotter showed Edna and her daughter arrived at the anti-narcotics unit office at around 5 p.m. on Jan. 3 but both left after a heated argument with the police. Ricalde said Edna resented it when he scolded her about allegedly consenting to her children’s illegal activities.
Ricalde said Edna warned him and his men that she would sue them.
On Jan. 5, Editha filed a complaint before the Napolcom accusing Ricalde, Gatdula and Gomboc of illegal arrest, arbitrary detention and extortion.
In her statement Editha claimed two men forced her into a gray Toyota Innova car and brought her to the NPD-DAID office, where the accused allegedly asked P300,000 in exchange for her freedom.
Edna claimed that she followed her daughter to the NPD-DAID office upon learning of her arrest. Editha said she and her mother agreed to pawn her house to a certain Francisco Abella for P170,000.
At about 10 p.m., Edna said she returned to the DAID office with the P170,000, which she allegedly gave to Gatdula and to a certain “Toto.”
After the alleged payoff, the police allowed them to go home.
“Those are malicious allegations and very self-serving,” Ricalde said. - By Pete Laude (Philstar News Service, 

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