The People’s Law Enforcement Board of Quezon City (PLEB) has dismissed the former head of the Quezon City Police District Crime Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDU) for the death of a tricycle driver during a hit-and-run incident last year.
In a 19-page decision, PLEB QC removed P/LT Col. Mark Julio Abong from the service and meted a six-month suspension on P/Col. Alexander Barredo, PCpl Joan Vicente and PSMS Jose Soriano. Nine other cops were exonerated.
The case was decided by the Fourth Division of the PLEB — composed of its Chairman, Atty. Rafael Vicente Calinisan, Councilor Ma. Aurora “Marra” Suntay, Punong Barangay Tonito Calma, Atty. Colleen I. Calleja and citizen representative Ronnie Liang.
The decision stemmed from the complaint of the sisters of Joel Laroa, who died in a hit-and-run incident along Anonas St. on Aug. 6, 2022.
Based on the complaint filed on Aug. 16, 2022, the victim’s sisters — Arlene Laroa Buenvenida, Annale Laroa Alba and Armida Laroa Carbonel – claimed that Abong, aboard his black Ford Ranger pick-up with plate number NCG 8456, hit their brother, and fled from the scene of the accident with the help of some fellow police officers.
Barredo and Vicente were accused of allowing Abong to escape and evade liability, and failing to help Laroa. Soriano, the traffic investigator assigned to the case, also helped to cover up the incident.
In the videos presented to the PLEB during the hearings – Barredo and Vicente were identified as the police officers who attempted to apprehend the driver of the vehicle that hit the victim.
However, upon learning that it was Abong who was driving the vehicle, they allowed the latter to escape. They also failed to give aid to Joel who was severely injured.
In his investigation report, Soriano indicated that an “unknown driver” was behind the incident, and eventually replaced it with the name of a certain Ronald Centino — upon the instructions of Atty. Mario Abong II, the brother and lawyer of Abong.
Mayor Joy Belmonte commended the PLEB for disposing of this case without fear or favor. She also sent her appreciation to the PNP top brass, particularly to PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr. for his assistance to the PLEB’s investigation.
“We are grateful to CPNP Gen. Azurin for extending help to the PLEB in their investigation. This shows the integrity of his word and sincere intention in cleaning the ranks of the PNP,” Belmonte said.
“Mahalaga para sa akin na maramdaman ng mga kababayan natin na mahal sila ng kanilang gobyerno sa lahat ng posibleng paraan. Sa pagkakataong ito, sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng hustisya sa pagkamatay ni Joel – na kung sana’y hindi tinakbuhan at pinabayaan ay maaaring kasama pa rin natin ngayon,” she added.
For his part, Atty. Calinisan, Executive Officer of the PLEB, also expressed appreciation for the PNP Chief’s assistance.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo kay Chief PNP sa kanyang pagtulong na linawin ang mga issue na nakakabit sa kaso ni Abong,” Calinisan said. “Tunay ngang magkatulong ang ordinaryong tao at ang PNP tungo sa paglilinis sa hanay ng ating mga kapulisan.”
“Dapat maintindihan ng ating kapulisan na hindi kaaway ang PLEB, patas ang ating proseso at ang layunin nito ay malaman ang totoo at makamit ang hustisya para sa lahat,” he added.