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Azurin orders dismissal of 5 Laguna cops over case of missing ‘sabungero’

December 20, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 303 views

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. has ordered the dismissal from the service of five Laguna policemen investigated in connection with the kidnapping of one of the 34 “missing sabungeros” or cockfighting aficionados last year.

Ordered expelled from the PNP were a Police Staff Sergeant, two Patrolmen, and three members of the Laguna Police Provincial Office (PPO) were recommended to stand trial for the kidnapping of Ricardo Ricafort Lasco by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which found probable cause against them.

Although the DOJ did not find probable cause for the remaining two police officers, they were likewise recommended for dismissal for administrative charges for grave misconduct after investigators found “enough substantial evidence” against them, said PNP Spokesperson Colonel Jean Fajardo.

Fajardo explained that the five were charged administratively in connection with the August 21 kidnapping and serious illegal detention and robbery case on August 21, prompting Azurin to approve their dismissal from the police force.

The PNP spokesperson said the five were placed under restrictive custody at the Police Regional Office 4-A (PRO 4-A) headquarters in Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna following their investigation.

‘CIDG welcomes DOJ ruling on missing sabungeros’

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Director Police Brigadier Gen. Ronald O. Lee welcomed the DOJ order which found probable cause to indict the accused in abducting one of the 34 missing “sabungeros” last year.

The official said they are pleased with the decision of the DOJ to indict three of the five Laguna policemen for robbery, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention in connection with the case of Lasco.

The CIDG filed the complaints against the accused before the DOJ last April 11.

“Ito ay nagpapatunay lamang na hindi natutulog ang hustisya. Tayo ay natutuwa sa paglabas ng rekomendasyong ito at tayo’y umaasa na mareresolba rin natin ang iba pang kasong ating hawak para dito sa mga nawawalang biktima,” Lee said.

In their November 25 resolution, which was released by DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla Jr. on Monday, the DOJ prosecutors considered the testimonies of all the witnesses, as well as the CCTV (closed-circuit television) camera footage gathered by the CIDG during its investigation of the Lasco kidnapping, to be “sufficient” to establish the case.

The said policemen were positively identified by witnesses as the armed men who entered the house of Lasco, introduced themselves as “NBI personnel,” and then arrested the victim on the strength of a purported warrant of arrest for large-scale estafa.

The incident occurred at Lasco’s residence in Barangay San Lucas 1 in San Pablo City in Laguna on August 30, 2021. The accused reportedly took numerous personal belongings and cash of the victim and his relatives, amounting to over P10.4 million.

Lee said that the case of Lasco is one of the eight cases handled by the CIDG Special Investigation Task Group “Sabungero” who took cognizance of the said case for further investigation after the complaint for kidnapping filed by the victim’s family before the City Prosecutor’s Office in San Pablo City was dismissed.

The official also reassured the victims’ families and the nation that they will not put their investigation of said cases on hold nor stop pursuing its resolution.