5 Cebu cops to face raps for torture, rape of woman allegedly linked to illegal drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 24) – Five Cebu City police personnel including their "civilian asset" are facing kidnapping with rape charges while on an "unauthorized" anti-illegal drugs operation in September last year.

On May 9, the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) filed the cases at the Visayas Ombudsman after a 19-year-old woman sought help from the agency.

An NBI-7 report said the supposed police raid happened on September 19 in a house in Barangay San Nicolas in Cebu City.

The law enforcers allegedly barged inside the house owned by complainant's friend, saying it was a police raid. Some of the people managed to escape except for the victim.

The woman claimed she was not brought to the police station but to a two-story apartment in the same barangay, where she was interrogated and tortured to identify those who sell drugs in the area.

She said she was detained at the apartment from September 19 until her captors released her on September 22.

The victim also reported that she was hit on her palms with a broomstick and a handle of a dustpan several times.

"She was also threatened to be stripped naked and drowned," the NBI-7 report revealed.

During her detention, a police asset identified as “Luis” allegedly forced her to take shabu after every meal. At dawn of September 22, the victim said "Luis" raped her, according to NBI-7's report

It added that while only "Luis" raped the victim, all of those involved will face the same charges because the entire incident could be considered as an act of conspiracy.

NBI-7 said the laws violated include Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code or Kidnapping/Serious Illegal Detention with Rape in relation to Article 8 or conspiracy; violation of section 5 of Republic Act 9165; and, conduct prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service.

Aside from "Luis," the following were recommended for prosecution: Police Corporal (PCpl) Johnrober Ortega Rebusa, PCpl Jeffrey Patoc Alabata, PCpl Keven Zosa Gilbuena, Police Staff Sergeant (PSSg) Donald Aboy Balansag, and PSSg Joy Marie Alad-ad.

The bureau said all of the police officers are members of the drug enforcement unit of Cebu City Police Office station 11 based in Barangay Mambaling.

Relieve from duty

Meanwhile, the Central Visayas Police Regional Office on Wednesday ordered the relief of the five police personnel identified in the NBI-7 case.

Police Lt. Col. Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of Police Regional Office 7, said those involved in the incident are currently at the holding unit of the Cebu City Police Office. He said they will also conduct a parallel investigation into the incident.

Pelare said that they will cooperate with the NBI-7 and the Ombudsman on this incident, and will be transparent in their own investigation.

"We will not condone any misdeed within the ranks of Police Regional Office 7, and as we are very fast in recognizing our personnel, we are also very swift and very determined to penalize those involved in any illegal activities," Pelare said in a separate interview at the Camp Sergio Osmena Sr. in Cebu City.

Pelare said the September 2022 operation conducted was not authorized and the incident could be isolated. He urged the public to continue to trust the PNP despite the incident.