Mandaue College president's arrest: Military ombudsman clears 6 cops
- Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/WAB () - August 3, 2010 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices dismissed the criminal case filed by Mandaue City College president Paulus Mariae Cañete and five others against six policemen of Mandaue City Police Office.

Cañete and the five other complainants filed an arbitrary detention, violation of Republic Act 019, incriminatory machination and obstruction of justice against Supt. Vicente Premne, Insp. Rainero Cortes, SPO1 Arnulfo Quiachon, SPO1 Kerwi Bejer, SPO1 Rico Cabatingan and PO3 Protacio Tago, Jr.

The filing of the complaint stemmed from an incident last May 8, 2008 wherein Cañete was arrested for alleged illegal possession of firearm.

In the complainants' affidavit-complaint, they alleged that they were on board the Toyota Avanza owned by Cañete when Premne and his men approached their vehicle and without their consent, one of the policemen opened the car's door and invited them for a custodial investigation.

The five other complainants namely Elmer Lipalda, Reynaldo Colegado, Katrina Cortes, Melba Villamor and Roldan Branoco together with Cañete claimed they were surprised when they learned they were being arrested for alleged illegal possession of firearms and were not allowed to leave the police headquarters.

Except from Cañete, who was released from detention at 2:30 a.m. the following day and after posting a bail, the five other complainants were allowed to leave the headquarters on the same day that they were arrested.

On July 23, 2008, the respondents submitted their joint counter-affidavit controverting the complainants' evidence and vehemently denied the accusation, branding it as baseless and a pure harassment.

The respondents countered that only Cañete was arrested after he was caught in the act of possessing an unlicensed caliber .38 snub nose revolver and live ammunitions. They added the other complainants were merely invited at the police station as a matter of procedure since at the time of the incident, they were altogether on board Cañete's vehicle.

The police officers added that it was the other complainants' choice to stay at the police station apparently to show support to Cañete who appears to be their boss.

Eventually, Cañete was charged by the City Prosecutor's Office of Mandaue City in violation of Republic Act 8294 now pending before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 3.

The respondents also submitted documentary evidence such as the information, police reports, police blotter, among others.

"After appreciating the evidence adduced by the parties, we resolved to dismiss the complaint," the MOLEO said in its four-page resolution that was approved on June 16, 2010.

Rolando Cervantes, graft investigation and prosecution officer, resolved that inasmuch as Cañete has been subjected to inquest proceeding and formally charged in court, the same substantially established regularity in the performance of duty in favor of the respondents.

"The bare allegations of the complainants failed to discharge the quantum of evidence needed to destroy such presumption cloaked upon the respondent police officers. Well settled that the party alleging a fact has a burden of proving it and a mere allegation is not evidence," the resolution further reads. (THE FREEMAN)

ARNULFO QUIACHON CITIES BRANCH CITY PROSECUTOR COMPLAINANTS ELMER LIPALDA ETE KATRINA CORTES KERWI BEJER NTILDE POLICE REPUBLIC ACT
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