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Dumaguete City, Philippines Saturday, July 18, 2015
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No whitewash in probe
on alleged slay attempt

Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, officer in charge of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, assured yesterday there will be no whitewash in the investigation by the NOPPO of the alleged attempted killing of a suspected drug pusher, by purported police personnel.

He stressed the NOPPO will let the Commission on Human Rights and its special investigator, Jess Cañete, “do the talking first”, even as Carlos added he already started a parallel and independent investigation on the attempt on the life of Romeo Amoma Jr.

Amoma, 32, of Barangay Taclobo, Dumaguete City, had sought the assistance of the CHR in seeking justice for what he believes was a plot to kill him, allegedly by members of the PNP's Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group on Dec. 14, 2014.

In a video footage taken from the CCTV system of a gasoline station in Barangay Taclobo, Amoma is seen on a motorcycle near a gas pump when two men on another motorcycle drove up to him. The backrider got off the motorcycle, pulled out what appears to be a gun, and pointed it at Amoma.

Amoma said he managed to escape unharmed, but claimed in his affidavit that he was abducted later by persons he identified later as members of the PAIDSOTG. He also accused them of planting evidence, to include shabu and a .45 caliber handgun, so he could be placed under arrest.

Carlos said the PNP welcomes the CHR investigation and, in fact, will be providing legal assistance to the police personnel identified as respondents to Amoma's complaint as the supposed incident while they were “in the line of duty”.

If proven otherwise, the police personnel will have to be on their own, Carlos said.

Subpoenaed to answer the charges raised by Amoma before the CHR are Senior Inspector Ryan Jay Orapa, then PAIDSOTG team leader, PO1 Retoni Escala, PO2 Marvin Buenaflor, PO3 Serito Ongy, and SPO2 Jonathan Abucayon.

They are given 10 days to submit their counter-affidavits upon receipt of the subpoenas, which they said they received Thursday.

The four are placed under “restrictive custody” of their immediate superior, Chief Insp. Benedict Poblete of the PAIDSOTG, to allow for easy access during interviews and questioning, Carlos said.

Orapa is now assigned in the Anti-Kidnapping Task Force in Manila.

Carlos said the NOPPO will conduct its own investigation to support the filing of administrative and/or criminal charges against them if warranted. He expressed hope that the incident, now being circulated around as an “extrajudicial killing” will not be exploited by interested quarters, who want the case against Amoma dismissed.

Amoma is facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, after he was arrested in December, reportedly with three “bultos” or large volume of suspected shabu. The complaint is pending before City Assistant Prosecutor Oscar Bokingkito.

Meanwhile, Orapa called on PAIDSOTG operatives to remain focus on their jobs, and enjoined the public to be fair and to wait for the decision of the court, rather than resort to what he called a “trial by publicity”.

He said before judging the police operatives, the public should look into the background of Amoma, who had a drug case way back in 2010 but was dismissed.

“It was a desperate move of the accused to force the fiscal's office to drop the charges because the CCTV footage they presented is inadmissible in court,” Orapa said in a telephone interview.

He said the CCTV footage will not be used as grounds to dismiss the charges against Amoma, that is why they're making it public to gain sympathy from the public.

Orapa revealed the illegal possession of firearms charge filed against Amoma was dismissed due to the failure of the arresting officers to appear during the hearing because they did not receive any subpoena.*JFP/JG


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