MANILA, Philippines - A Northern Police District (NPD) police officer and his alleged accomplice were arrested while driving a stolen motorcycle out of a Caloocan City mall Friday night.
Police Officer 1 John Rey Bautista, 30, assigned to the NPD public safety battalion, was apprehended along with Venedict Lopez, 27, at around 7 p.m. at the mall, according to Senior Inspector Gaylord Tamayo. Bautista’s 9mm pistol, a Yamaha Fino motorcycle owned by Carlos Buccat, and an improvised lockpick were confiscated from the two men.
Tamayo, Police Officer 3 Paul Norman Lagural and Police Officers 1 Jhoven Pacis and Patrick Baldemor were gathering data on suspected car thieves along Rizal Avenue Extension in Monumento when they heard Buccat shouting for help from the mall parking lot.
Buccat said he left his motorcycle at the parking lot to meet a friend in the mall’s supermarket. He said when he returned, he saw his motorcycle being ridden by two men, the driver clad in a police uniform.
Tamayo and his men intercepted the suspects as they were about to leave the parking lot. Cornered and outnumbered, Bautista and Lopez surrendered without a fight.
“Bautista is a disgrace to the police organization, for he is using his uniform in an illegal activity. Last April, my unit also arrested him for driving a motorcycle without proper documents. He must not stay any longer as a police officer,” Tamayo told The STAR.
Tamayo said they would conduct a deeper investigation to determine whether Bautista has links with a group of car thieves operating in northern Metro Manila and look into Lopez’s background.
The STAR tried to interview the suspects in their cell but they refused to answer questions. Bautista only pointed to Lopez and said, “Sorry, I was just dragged into this.”
Chief Inspector Rodrigo Soriano, Caloocan City police investigation chief, said they will file charges against the two suspects with the office of city prosecutor Darwin Canete. - By Pete Laude