The family of Joel Laroa, the victim of the hit-and-run incident involving an official of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) of the Quezon City Police District, wants the suspect and other police officers involved in the attempted “cover-up” of the incident be dismissed from the police service.
The victim’s sisters — Arlene Laroa Buenvenida, Annale Laroa Alba and Armida Laroa Carbonel — filed charges of Grave Misconduct, Grave Neglect of Duty and Conduct Unbecoming of a Police Officer before the People’s Law Enforcement Board-QC (PLEB-QC) against P/Lt. Col. Julio Abong.
According to their complaint, Abong, aboard his black Ford Ranger pick-up with plate number NCG 8456, hit their brother, and fled from the scene of the accident.
Worse, the Laroa sisters accused Abong, along with the help of other policemen, of trying to cover-up the incident and pin the blame on a “fall guy” to shift the liability from the official.
The Laroa sisters also filed a case against Station 3 Commander, P/Col. Alexander Barredo, and his subordinate, P/Cpl. Joan Vicente, for their failure to arrest Abong.
Cellphone video footage shows that Barredo and Vicente along with another policeman were already standing beside Abong’s Ford Ranger pick-up, but no arrests were made.
Reports also reached the Laroa sisters that the Ford Ranger even made its way back to Camp Karingal after the incident, followed by Barredo, Vicente, and other “responding officers” from Police Stations 3 and 9.
A case was also filed against traffic investigator P/SMS Jose Soriano for his direct participation in the alleged cover up.
According to the Laroa sisters, Soriano did not identify Abong as the driver of the vehicle. Instead, he initially mentioned in his report that the driver was “unknown” and subsequently identified a certain “Ronald Centino” as the driver of the pick-up, not Abong.
The Laroa sisters added that Soriano even made them sign the Case/Criminal Complaint exculpating Abong and shifting the liability to Centino, without any explanation, and while they were still grieving.
“Nagfile kami ng kaso sa PLEB dahil sa tingin namin, dito na lang namin makakamit ang hustisya. Nag-usap usap ang mga pulis para pagtakpan ang insidenteng ito. Nakakapanlumo. Nananawagan kami kay Mayor Belmonte at Atty. Calinisan na bigyan ng agarang resolusyon ang kasong ito. Humihingi ako ng tulong sa inyo. Wag niyo po kami pabayaan,” said Arlene Laroa Buenvenida.
“Kung sana hindi pinabayaan ni Abong na mamatay ang aming kapatid, mapapatawad pa sana namin sya. Sana kaagarang dinala nya sa hospital. Pero hindi niya ginawa. Nakuha pa niyang pagtakpan ang kasalanan niya sa pamamagitan ng grand cover-up ng mga kapulisan,” she added.
“We will investigate this case thoroughly, without fear or favor. We promise a swift and impartial investigation and disposition of this case. We will not be afraid to impose the proper penalty, and dismiss all erring cops, should it be necessary,” said Atty. Rafael Calinisan, Executive Officer of the PLEB.
“We pledge a safe and peaceful community here in Quezon City. There is no room for erring cops here. We have put systems in place, and I am confident that after a thorough investigation, truth will prevail. I will not allow a mockery of this probe,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The QCPD, for its part, has resolved to endorse this case to the PLEB to allay concerns about any possible cover-up.
“Under my watch, we will never tolerate any wrongdoing from our personnel. We have relieved from his post P/Lt. Col Abong from the CIDU. We will cooperate with the investigation of the PLEB. In fact, we will forward and endorse the results of our investigation to them, to ensure that there will be no white-wash here,” said Gen. Nicolas Torre III, the newly appointed District Director of the QCPD.
The PLEB is the check and balance mechanism created by law where ordinary citizens are empowered against erring policemen. The PLEB can summarily dismiss, suspend and reprimand abusive policemen.
While it was created as early as 1991, it is only now that the PLEB is gaining prominence because of the swift decision making of the PLEB QC. Alternatively, citizens may also file complaints with the PNP-IAS itself or the NAPOLCOM.