2 Ecija cops nabbed for kidnap-slay of Muslim trader

February 19, 2022 Steve A. Gosuico 218 views

CABANATUAN CITY – The two remaining at-large Nueva Ecija policemen wanted for the brutal kidnap-slay of Muslim jewelry trader Nadia Casar, whose charred remains were found stuffed in a sack and buried in Palayan City in August last year, finally fell in police’s hands during manhunt operations conducted on Thursday morning here.

In his report to Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) director Brig. Gen. Matthew P. Baccay, Nueva Ecija top cop Col. Jess B. Mendez identified the two arrested cops as SMS. Rowen C. Martin, of San Leonardo town, assigned at the Cabanatuan City Police, and SSgt. Drextemir C. Esmundo, of Bgy. Sapsap, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija detailed at the Cabiao PNP (Philippine National Police).

Martin and Esmundo were the last two of the five Nueva Ecija cops tagged in the kidnap-slaying of Casar who got arrested. The other three were already under custody of the PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group and were identified as SSgt. June Marcelo Mallilin, assigned with the Palayan City PNP; Corp. Julius Alcantara, of the NE-Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit; and SSgt. Benedict Reyes, of the Sta. Rosa police.

Mendez said joint operating units of the Anti-Kidnapping Group-Luzon Field Unit/SOU/IRAD, the NEPPO-Provincial Intelligence Unit and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-PFU3 collared the two suspects during manhunt operations conducted in Bgy. Sangitan West at 9:15 a.m.

He said their arrest came after his men implemented an arrest warrant issued against the two suspects by Cabanatuan City Regional Trial Court Branch 24 Judge Ana Marie C. Joson-Viterbo on February 16, 2022 and received by the police the next day with no bail recommended.

It would be recalled that then-PNP Chief and now-Partido Reporma senate bet Guillermo T. Eleazar, who had earlier launched his “Intensified Cleanliness Policy” sought for the immediate dismissal from the service of the five cops involved in the dastardly crime.

Also, San Antonio Mayor Arvin C. Salonga reacted to the killing saying it was shocking to the institution because it involved police officers who were supposed to serve and protect the people.

The brutal killing of Casar angered the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and reportedly triggered the relief of then-Col. Jaime Santos as provincial police chief. He was replaced by Col. Rhoderick B. Campo as officer-in-charge on August 14, 2021, exactly 25 days after the gruesome incident.