2 Cordillera cops held for beheading driver

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    TWO anti-narcotics policemen of the Cordillera Administrative Region Regional Police Office have been placed under restrictive custody for their alleged involvement in the abduction and beheading of a truck driver in Benguet last month.

    Regional Police Director Brig. Gen. R’win Pagkalinawan declined to name the cops, who are assigned with the regional police’s drug enforcement unit, pending the result of further investigation.

    “Personally, I am saddened and shocked that a crime this brutal was committed by members of our police force. Though historically we know that beheading enemies used to be a part of the culture of the Cordilleras, in these modern times, it is anathema to contemporary society,” Pagkalinawan said, adding the crime “brought down the morale” of the Cordillera police.

    “We condole with the family of the victim and we vow that justice will be served,” Pagkalinawan said, adding the case is an “isolated incident.”

    Baguio City police chief Col. Allen Rae Co said the two cops have been “disarmed, they are now (in) restrictive custody” while investigators are “in the process of documenting everything, getting testimonies of witnesses for the filing of the case.”

    Co said the two were among four initially-unidentified suspects who abducted vegetable truck driver Harjan Lagman, 25, in Barangay Irisan, Baguio City last November 11. The remains of Lagman, said to be a drug user, were found in Tublay town in Benguet the following day and were buried by his family a few days later. Co said the head of Lagman remains missing but assured that the Baguio City police are exerting efforts to locate it.

    Through video footage and witnesses, Co said they were able to identify two of the suspects as cops, who were placed under restrictive custody of the Cordillera regional police last Tuesday.

    Co said they are still establishing the motive behind the abduction and beheading of Lagman “but our initial assumption is personal grudge or personal, this is mere assumption because no one can confirm it yet.

    Co said the two cops have refused to talk, the reason why the identity of the two other suspects have yet to be established.

    Meanwhile, three policemen and their two cohorts were arrested for extortion in separate entrapment operations in Taguig City and Albay last Wednesday and Tuesday, police officials reported yesterday.

    One of the suspects, S/Sgt. Carlo Marsaba Sison, of the Taguig City police station, was arrested at around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday along C-6 road in Taguig City by operatives of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group.

    IMEG chief Col. Thomas Frias Jr. said Sison demanded P15,000 from a certain Jordan Delfin Maxian in exchange for the latter’s exclusion from police drug operations. Sison was caught red-handed receiving P15,000 from the complainant, leading to his arrest.

    In Albay, operatives of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Albay provincial police arrested two policemen and their two cohorts in Camalig town last Tuesday also for extortion.

    The suspects identified as S/Sgts. Ernand Marquez Mullasco and Gerald Callo Capuz, both assigned with the Camalig police station; Melody Paluza Quidez, alias Baby; and security guard, Jay MArquez Quidez.

    The four are said to be members of the Concepcion Group allegedly involved in robbery-extortion, gun-for-hire and other illegal activities in the Bicol region.

    Police said lawyer Paulino Baclao Fernandez Jr. alleged that the four demanded P2 million from him, otherwise they will kidnap his parents.

    The suspects were arrested at around 3:40 p.m. in an entrapment operation last Tuesday in Barangay Salungan, Camalig. They yielded two handguns, five mobile phones, and marked P1,000 bills.