by Ali G. Macabalang
In the latest episode of the “Sulong Mindanao” weekly (every Wednesday) broadcast program over Manila’s DWIZ radio network, regular host veteran journalist Lolly Acosta and I as co-host tackled various issues affecting Muslim or Bangsamoro communities, highlighting the reported order by PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar for the immediate summary dismissal and indictment of cops involved in the kidnap-slay of Nadia Casar in Nueve Ecija on July 20.
Casar, a 35-year old Maranao online seller, a Grab driver she hired were kidnapped by at least five men in Barangay Tagpos, Sta. Rosa at around 1:45 p.m. on July 20 while delivering an ordered item to Franklin Macapagal, who was one of the suspects, according to reports.
Reports said Macapagal and fellow civilian Dario Robarios, and at least five policemen took the Grab driver’s mobile phone and P4,500 cash and freed him at around 3 a.m. on July 21. On Aug. 1, the burnt and buried body of Cesar was recovered in Sitio Pinagpala, Barangay Imelda Valley in Palayan City at around 2:30 p.m.
Gen. Eleazar on Tuesday, Aug. 3 ordered the PNP Internal Affairs Service to initiate summary dismissal proceedings against five cops named as:
- Police Staff Sergeant Benedict Matias Reyes of Sta. Rosa Municipal Police Station
- Police Staff Sergeant June Malillin of Palayan City Police Station
- Police Corporal Julius Alcantara of Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office Drug Enforcement Unit
- Police Master Sergeant Rowen Martin of Cabanatuan City Police Station
- Police Staff Sergeant Drextemir Esmundo of Cabiao Municipal Police Station
Eleazar also ordered the PNP Anti-Kidnap Group to file criminal charges against the five cops and two civilians, even speculations were high that the suspects could have gang-raped Casar before killing her and burning her cadaver.
Published reports said Sergeants Reyes and Malillin alongside Alcantara, and Robarios are in police custody, while Martin, Esmundo, and Macapagal remain at large. They have been charged in the Justice Department, PNP said.
“We strongly condemn this incident. I assure you that all the police involved in the kidnapping and killing of Nadia Casar will be dismissed from service and held accountable…These criminal-minded people who are wicked to the bone deserve to rot in prison…I will personally look into this case and will make sure that these rotten eggs will face justice in court and be accountable for their crimes,” reports quoted Eleazar as saying in Pilipino.
News about Casar’s kidnap-slay went viral in the social media, with some nitizens posting photos of the slain victim, of the arrested civilian, of locked-up Staff Sgt. Reyes, and of SOCO agents scouring the burnt remains of the fatality.
Tip of iceberg
The Mindanao-based Moro Consensus Group (MCG) and the Bangsamoro Press Corps (BPC) strongly condemned Casar’s fate, and urged Gen Eleazar to punish all suspects, and reinvestigate previous killings of Muslim civilians by suspected cops.
MCG leader Drieza Lininding said Gen. Eleazar should exemplify his “intensified cleansing drive” in the PNP ranks, even as other concerned quarters believed that Casar’s tragic fate was just a “tip of iceberg” in past crimes involving suspected cops against Muslim civilians in different parts of the country.
The BPC cited the brutal ambush and robbery attack by suspected cops on Kulingan Haji Jamil Saad and Junaid Haji Farhan Saad, a Muslim couple engaged in jewelry business, in the evening of Sept. 3, 2020 in Pasay City.
The attackers allegedly included two cops seen by residents fleeing aboard a motorbike with a vault-like box containing P15-million cash as claimed by relatives.
The BPC said another unresolved incident was the massacre in broad daylight of nine Muslim farmers along a road near the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) campus in Kabacan, North Cotabato on Aug. 29, 2020.
Investigators from the Commission on Human Rights in Region XII, citing narratives at hospital by one of the victims before succumbing to bullet wounds, that “our attackers were policemen.” The information was corroborated by some USM campus security guards watching the incident from a distance.
Dozens of “hulidap” (short of arrest and holdup) modus operandi by unscrupulous cops victimizing Muslim business people in Metro Manila and other urban areas in the country had been reported without justice dispensed. (AGM)