FOUR active-duty Taguig policemen were arrested after they robbed, in the guise of an anti-drug operation, over P30 million in cash from a Japanese national and his Filipina live-in partner in Pasig City at midnight on Saturday.
Police arrested Police Staff Sergeant Jayson Bartolome, Police Corporal (PCpl) Merick Desoloc, PCpl Christian Jerome Reyes, and Patrolman Pat Kirk Joshua Almojera.
Bartolome is now confined in a hospital after he was shot by responding policemen from Pasig. All of the suspects were assigned in Taguig City.
One civilian, identified as John Carlo Atienza, was found dead.
National Capital Region Police Office Chief (NCRPO), Police Maj. Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr., said that a manhunt operation is ongoing for two other suspects identified as Ferdinand Pallaria , a dismissed policeman and Rowel Galan.
The suspects were presented to Danao, who lashed out at them, noting they had no warrants and had damaged the credibility of an otherwise serious campaign on illegal drugs.
He became more angry upon learning that one of them even reported for duty after the robbery.
“Ikaw on duty ka pa ha? Kasagsagan ng Pasko naghohold-up kayo [You, you’re even on duty. You’re holding up people during the Christmas season]?” Danao, who was fuming, said to the suspects in a video uploaded on YouTube when the suspects were presented on Saturday.
He noted that they were very young, singling out one cop who entered the service in 2020.
Danao said that the suspects made it appear that they are conducting an anti-illegal drugs operation.
“Police tayo! Hindi tayo holdaper [We are policemen! We are not robbers]!” Danao added as he reminded them that they cannot conduct such an operation without a search warrant.
“Papasok ka ng bahay na walang search warrant? Illegal yan [You enter a house without a search warrant? That’s illegal!]” the NCRPO chief said.
“Under my helm, we will never tolerate this kind of scalawags in uniform,” Danao vowed.
Investigation showed that the suspects entered the house of the victims Kani Toshihiro, 42, and Joana Marie Espiritu in Brgy. Kapitolyo in Pasig City around 12:10 a.m. on December 18 for alleged violation of Republic Act 9165.
However, after ransacking the house, they did not arrest the couple, and rushed out, riding two motorcycles.
Danao said the suspects took with them P30,001, 000 and an iPhone13 Promax worth P100,000.
CCTV showed two of them throwing a sack, presumably the loot, over a gate.
The victims ran outside their house after the suspects left to ask for help.
“Fortunately, they saw a police nearby who immediately called for assistance and our Pasig policemen immediately responded,” Danao narrated.
Danao commended the Pasig City police for their quick action.
Danao warned policemen that under his helm, he will never tolerate “scalawags in uniform.”
“Nakakiyak lang, eh, naibigay namin lahat ng pondo na dapat at maaaring iparating, pinaparating ko na. Dinadagdagan ko nga para walang mangyari na ganito,” he lamented.[It makes one cry that even after we had given them all the funds, this happens. I even added to what they needed, just so things like this won’t happen].