WHAT could be a better weapon against ill-motive than ones own clear conscience?
This is the statement of Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) Chief Senior Superintendent Martin Defensor Jr. as he defended the regularity in the arrest of two murder suspects last month.
Defensor and 16 of his subordinates were administratively charged before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas a month after they arrested brothers Julius and Roy de los Reyes.
The brothers are security aides of Iloilo City Councilor Plaridel Nava II, the one who filed the complaint against the 17 ICPO personnel for grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of public service.
I respect his (Nava) right to file a case. In due time, we will answer that in the proper venue, Defensor said.
Defensor said he is not at all bothered by the case since truth is on their side.
We have nothing to worry or fear. We will continue doing our job, he said.
Defensor said there was no abuse in the arrest of the de los Reyes brothers as they were physically unscathed and are in good health at the Mandurriao Police Station.
We just exercised our duty in bringing justice to the victims, he said.
Other respondents in the case are Superintendent Godfrey Buslotan, chief of the ICPO-Intelligence Sectio; Superintendent Jonathan Pablito, Iloilo City Police Station 1 chief; and Chief Inspector Marlon Valencia, ICPS5 Chief.
Also charged were Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Edward Barrida, PO2 Cyril Maestre, PO2 John Marcel San Pedro, PO3 Richard Ivan Lopez, PO3 Oliver Lonasco, PO3 Ricardo Morante, SPO2 Jessie Jim Rubio, PO3 Joel Novera, SPO1 Vernie Escorial, PO3 Vincent Angelo Hongco, PO2 Melvin Niño, PO2 Enrico Gonzales, and PO2 Peter Organia.
The de los Reyes brothers were tagged in the killing of Navas cousin, Mercedes Ging-Ging Nava.
The two were arrested in Navas office at the Iloilo City Hall on Jan. 7, 2019, three days after Mercedes and her companion, Erwin Fontillas, were killed by riding-in-tandem gunmen at Barangay Calajunan, Mandurriao District.
In his complaint affidavit, Nava argued that the arrest of the de los Reyes brothers is illegal and void ab initio.
Nava, a lawyer by profession, said that basing from the available facts, circumstances and evidence of the respondents, the so/called hot pursuit is no longer applicable in the case at hand citing the absence of two elements for it to be considered a hot pursuit.
Nava also questioned why a potential witness, a taxi driver named Romulo Jimena, was never invited for questioning.
Instead, he said policemen presented two witnesses who only gave their statement two days after the incident.
He said that CCTV footages of the alleged gunmen did not match the physical profile of his security aides.
Nava went on to say that the arrest of the de los Reyes siblings was driven by revenge.
He claimed that the three respondents Defensor, Buslotan, and Valencia are exacting revenge against the suspects because their slain brother, SPO2 Rex de los Reyes, made a dossier on the three officers alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
In fact, such dossier has been submitted to the Senate Committee on Drugs in one of its Committee hearings, he said.
The respondent police officers allegedly have the motive to frame up the brothers.
But Defensor said Navas claims are nothing but lies.
Puro kasinungalin ang pinagsasabi nya, he said.
Defensor said SPO2 Rex de los Reyes was killed by suspected members of a criminal group on Jan. 3, 2014 in a beach resort in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.
I was only assigned in Iloilo on 2015 while Superintendent Buslotan on 2017, he said.
Rex was also tagged in the killing of PO1 Frederick Capasao on Oct. 13, 2007.
He was also implicated in robbery hold-ups and even illegal drugs when he was still alive.