Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cop in extort try has 7 past cases

MANILA, Philippines - A police officer accused of trying to extort money from a son of Metro Manila’s top police official has been slapped with seven administrative cases in the past, according to records of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD). Of the seven cases, two were for grave misconduct in connection with extortion incidents. Three of the cases were dropped while one ended with Senior Police Officer 4 Jose dela Peña getting admonished. The incident involving the son of Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina, National Capital Region Police Office director, is not the first time the policeman accused someone of a committing a scandalous act to extort money. On Tuesday, Dela Peña accused Espina’s 22-year-old son of having “phone sex” with someone as he stood in front of his car along Hemady street. He boarded the man’s car and forced him to go to two ATM booths as his partner, Police Officer 2 Resty del Rosario, followed in the police car. Espina’s son was not able to withdraw any money and asked Dela Peña to talk to his father on the phone. It was then that Dela Peña found out the man’s father is Espina. Dela Peña remains at large. ‘Making out’ On the night of May 21, Dela Peña allegedly extorted P7,000 from a man he purportedly accused of making out with a woman in his car along Panay Avenue. “The man said he was just talking to the girl,” Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo Jr., commander of the QCPD Station 10, said in an interview. Dela Peña allegedly demanded P10,000 but the man said he only had P3,000. The policeman allegedly took over the man’s car, making the man transfer to the front passenger seat and the woman to the back seat, then drove to a nearby ATM booth. The man withdrew P4,000 and allegedly gave the entire P7,000 to Dela Peña. Pedrozo said the man reported the incident to Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz, then head of the PNP’s Police Community Relations Group, who contacted Pedrozo since his police station had jurisdiction over the area where the alleged extortion happened. According to Pedrozo, the case was forwarded to the NCRPO since cases of such gravity are beyond the level of the district director. The May 21 extortion case will be decided by Espina. Last Tuesday’s incident is the eighth complaint against Dela Peña. From discourtesy to robbery Based on records from the QCPD’s pre-charge evaluation office, three of the seven cases against Dela Peña were approved for summary dismissal hearings. In December 2009, Dela Peña – with the rank of SPO2 – allegedly was “arrogant, bullying and rude” when he flagged down the vehicle of a former congressman’s son-in-law. He was removed from the QCPD and transferred to the NCRPO in 2009 after this incident. Another case approved for summary dismissal hearing in February 2011 involved Dela Peña and four others, this time for failure to execute lawful orders. One of the dismissed cases involved a complaint from then vice mayor Herbert Bautista involving an incident in December 2007, which was not discussed in detail. Dela Peña and three other police officers were accused of threatening and beating a motorist along Katipunan Avenue in September 2007, but this was dismissed for lack of probable cause. In June 2007, he was accused by a then city councilor of soliciting political patronage. The councilor asked the then QCPD chief to transfer Dela Peña from a precinct to the mobile patrol unit. He was admonished for simple neglect of duty. Another extortion case against Dela Peña, then a PO3, was reported through a text message in 2006. This was also dismissed for lack of merit. The records also show that a complaint for being impolite and discourteous, which falls under grave misconduct, was eventually junked after it was learned that there were three QCPD policemen with the surname Dela Peña. - By Reinir Padu