QC-PLEB sacks cop in hit-and-run of trike driver

March 28, 2023 Cory Martinez 194 views

THE former head of the Quezon City Police District Crime Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDU) has been dismissed from the service for the death of a tricycle driver during a hit-and-run incident last year.

The dismissed police officer was a Police Lieutenant Colonel.

In a 19-page decision, the People’s Law Enforcement Board of Quezon City (PLEB) Fourth Division also imposed a six-month suspension against three other police officers, while nine other cops were exonerated.

The PLEB Fourth Division is composed of its Chairman, Atty. Rafael Vicente Calinisan, Councilor Ma. Aurora “Marra” Suntay, Punong Barangay Tonito Calma, Atty. Colleen I. Calleja, and citizen representative Ronnie Liang.

The administrative cases stemmed from the complaint of three sisters of Joel Laroa, who died in a hit-and-run incident along Anonas St. on Aug. 6, 2022.

Based on the complaint filed on Aug. 16, 2022, the victim’s sisters claimed that the suspect, aboard his black Ford Ranger pick-up truck, hit their brother and fled from the scene of the accident with the help of some fellow police officers.

According to the complaint, two cops were included in the case for allegedly allowing the suspect to escape and evade liability and failing to help Laroa.

The victim bled to his death for one hour in Anonas St., Quezon City. A traffic investigator assigned to the case also helped to “cover up” the incident.

In the videos presented to the PLEB during the hearings – two police officers were identified who tried to apprehend the driver of the vehicle that hit the victim.

However, upon learning that the suspect was driving the vehicle, they allowed the latter to escape. They also failed to give aid to the victim, who was severely injured.

In his investigation report, the traffic investigator indicated that an “unknown driver” was behind the incident and eventually replaced it with the name of a certain “Ronald Centino” – upon the instructions of the brother and lawyer of the primary suspect.

Mayor Joy Belmonte, meanwhile, commended the PLEB for disposing of this case without fear or favor. She also sent her appreciation to the PNP (Philippine National Police) top brass, particularly to PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr., for his assistance in the PLEB’s investigation.

“We are grateful to CPNP Gen. Azurin for extending help to the PLEB in their investigation. This shows the integrity of his word and sincere intention in cleaning the ranks of the PNP,” Belmonte said.

“Mahalaga para sa akin na maramdaman ng mga kababayan natin na mahal sila ng kanilang gobyerno sa lahat ng posibleng paraan. Sa pagkakataong ito, sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng hustisya sa pagkamatay ni Joel – na kung sana’y hindi tinakbuhan at pinabayaan ay maaaring kasama pa rin natin ngayon,” she added.

For his part, Atty. Calinisan, Executive Officer of the PLEB, also expressed appreciation for the PNP Chief’s assistance.

“Nagpapasalamat po tayo kay Chief PNP sa kanyang pagtulong na linawin ang mga issue na nakakabit sa kaso (ng suspek),” Calinisan said. “Tunay ngang magkatulong ang ordinaryong tao at ang PNP tungo sa paglilinis sa hanay ng ating mga kapulisan.”

“Dapat maintindihan ng ating kapulisan na hindi kaaway ang PLEB, patas ang ating proseso at ang layunin nito ay malaman ang totoo at makamit ang hustisya para sa lahat,” he added.