QCPD official, others face complaints for alleged cover-up of hit-and-run case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) – The family of the victim in a hit-and-run case involving the chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has filed complaints against the official and other cops for alleged cover-up of the incident.

P/Lt. Col. Mark Julio Abong, head of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, is facing cases of grave misconduct, grave neglect of duty, and conduct unbecoming of a police officer before the People’s Law Enforcement Board of Quezon City (PLEB-QC), the board said on Wednesday.

According to the complaint, Abong was aboard his black Ford Ranger pick-up when the vehicle hit the tricycle driven by Joel Laroa. Laroa died and Abong allegedly fled from the scene of the accident.

The complaint was filed by the victim’s sisters Arlene Laroa Buenvenida, Annale Laroa Alba, and Armida Laroa Carbonel. They also lodged a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property against Abong before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Aug. 11.

They also filed complaints at the PLEB-QC against Station 3 Commander P/Col. Alexander Barredo and his subordinate P/Cpl. Joan Vicente for their failure to arrest Abong. Cellphone video footage showed Barredo, Vicente, and another policeman were standing beside Abong’s vehicle, but they did not arrest him.

A case was also filed against traffic investigator Jose Soriano for not identifying Abong as the driver of the Ford Ranger pick-up. Soriano reported that the driver was “unknown” and subsequently identified a certain Ronald Centino as the driver of the vehicle.

“Kung sana hindi pinabayaan ni Abong na mamatay ang aming kapatid, mapapatawad pa sana namin siya. Sana kaagarang dinala niya sa hospital. Pero hindi niya ginawa. Nakuha pa niyang pagtakpan ang kasalanan niya sa pamamagitan ng grand cover-up ng mga kapulisan,” Buenvenida said.

[Translation: If Abong did not leave our brother for dead, we would have forgiven him. He should have rushed him to the hospital. But he did not. Instead, he covered up his wrongdoing with the help of other policemen.]

"Nag-file kami ng kaso sa PLEB dahil sa tingin namin, dito na lang namin makakamit ang hustisya. Nag-usap usap ang mga pulis para pagtakpan ang insidenteng ito. Nakakapanlumo," she added.

[Translation: We filed a case before the PLEB-QC because we think this is where we can get justice. The officers teamed up to cover up the incident. It's depressing.]

QCPD Director Nicolas Torre III said Abong was relieved from his post on Aug. 16. Torre also said the QCPD will cooperate with the PLEB-QC, which can summarily dismiss, suspend and reprimand abusive policemen.