No ben­e­fits for fam­ily of Hortezuela, po­lice say

Cebu Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - by Nes­tle L. Semilla RE­PORTER NO BEN­E­FITS 23

TWELVE years of ser­vice in the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice went down the drain af­ter the Po­lice Re­gional Of­fice in Cen­tral Visayas (PRO-7) said that the fam­ily of Senior Insp. Ray­mond Hortezuela will not get any death ben­e­fit be­cause he was killed un­der al­le­ga­tion that he was a “narco cop.”

This de­vel­oped as the PRO-7 stood firm in its po­si­tion that Hortezue law as killed ina le­git­i­mate anti-drug op­er­a­tion and thus not en­ti­tled to the death ben­e­fits due to po­lice­men.

This was the same po­si­tion adopted by the PNP as Chief Supt. De­bold Si­nas, PRO-7 di­rec­tor, said in a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day that they have no prob­lem if the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights in

the re­gion (CHR-7) would in­ves­ti­gate the death of Hortezuela.

Si­nas said Hortezuela’s fam­ily will only re­ceive the ac­cu­mu­la­tive ap­proved leave, which the slain po­lice of­fi­cer did not use dur­ing his 12 years in ser­vice.

“Ang main ben­e­fits gyud, kan­ing gitawag nga lump sum pen­sion, dili nato ma­hatag. Ab­so­lute gyud na siya. Ang pwede lang ma­hatag nato nila is kan­ing wala niya mag­a­mit nga leave cred­its,” said Si­nas.

(The main ben­e­fit of a po­lice of­fi­cer, the lump sum pen­sion, we can never give. That is ab­so­lute. We can only give the con­ver­sion of his leave cred­its, which were not used, to his fam­ily.)

Si­nas ex­plained that the lump sum pen­sion could not be given to the fam­ily be­cause Hortezuela was in­volved in the il­le­gal drugs trade and was killed in a le­git­i­mate po­lice op­er­a­tion.

Wil­fredo, Hortezuela’s fa­ther, cried foul upon hear­ing that they will not be able to get any ben­e­fit.

He said they will ask for as­sis­tance from a lawyer be­cause they feel this is an in­jus­tice.

“Inta­won ma­hata­gan inta­won mi sa iyang mga benepisyo. Naglabad na­man gani among ulo asa siya ilubong. Asa na padu­long akong apo? Kan­ing iyang anak ug iyang asawa,” Wil­fredo said in an in­ter­view with TV Pa­trol Cen­tral Visayas.

(I am beg­ging, give us the ben­e­fits. We are even hav­ing a prob­lem where we could get him buried. Where will my grand­child go? What will hap­pen to his daugh­ter and wife?)

Wil­fredo said that Hortezuela, the el­dest of his three chil­dren, was his fam­ily’s bread­win­ner.

Hortezuela, who left be­hind his wife Mari­cel and a 13-year-old daugh­ter, had been in the ser­vice for 12 years. He en­tered the PNP af­ter he grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Cebu in 2006.

He was as­signed to the Cebu City Po­lice Of­fice (CCPO) and be­came the deputy chief of the Guadalupe Po­lice Sta­tion be­fore he was as­signed to Ne­gros Ori­en­tal Pro­vin­cial Po­lice of­fice (NOPPO) last month, amid al­le­ga­tions over his drug links.

Not both­ered

While the po­lice were adamant against grant­ing his fam­ily death ben­e­fits, au­thor­i­ties were like­wise un­fazed by the CHR probe, given that Hortezuela was al­legedly killed in a le­git­i­mate anti-drug po­lice op­er­a­tion.

Si­nas said they do not have any prob­lem if the CHR-7 will in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent.

“Tra­baho man na nila. Ilaha man nang mandatos. So free sila mag-in­ves­ti­gate ug walay prob­lema sa amoa,” Si­nas said.

(It’s their job and they are man­dated by law to do so. So they are free to in­ves­ti­gate, and we do not have any prob­lem with that.)

Ear­lier, CHR-7 Di­rec­tor Arvin Odron said the In­ves­ti­ga­tion Sec­tion of the agency has started to look into the cir­cum­stances lead­ing to the death of Hortezuela.

Hortezuela was gunned down in what the po­lice said was a shootout in Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City, last Sun­day, June 10.

Odron ear­lier said they wanted to know whether or not the raid­ing team had a ba­sis to shoot Hortezuela.

But Si­nas main­tained that the buy­bust was a le­git­i­mate op­er­a­tion con­ducted by the Re­gional In­tel­li­gence Di­vi­sion in the re­gion (RID-7) and the Counter In­tel­li­gence Task Force (CITF) of Camp Crame.

“It was a le­git­i­mate po­lice op­er­a­tion. Naa mi ba­sis ato . And kadto, ki­na­hanglan ma­pugn­gan ang in­ga­tong dau­tan nga buhat,” said Si­nas.

(It was a le­git­i­mate po­lice op­er­a­tion. We have ba­sis. And we need to put an end to th­ese il­le­gal drug ac­tiv­i­ties of that po­lice of­fi­cer.)

Warn­ing to other cops

Even with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of CHR-7, Si­nas said this would not stop the po­lice from go­ing af­ter law en­forcers and other in­di­vid­u­als who are in­volved in the nar­cotics trade.

Speak­ing dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of 120th In­de­pen­dence Day at PRO-7 quad­ran­gle yes­ter­day, Si­nas re­minded po­lice­men to do their jobs well and to stay away from il­le­gal drugs.

Oth­er­wise, he said they will re­gret their de­ci­sion.

Si­nas said they can still give a sec­ond chance to those po­lice­men who are into il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

And if they want to change their ways, Si­nas ad­vised them to change now.

“Ayaw hu­lata nga mag-abot pa ta sa tu­moy. Kun dili ninyo un­dan­gon in­y­ong mga dau­tan nga pang­inabuhi ab­otabot lang ta sa tu­moy. Tan-awon nato kin­say unang mo-sur­ren­der. Kay kami dili mi mo-un­dang (in go­ing against you),” said Si­nas.

(Don’ t wait un­til we get to face each other at the end. If you will not stop your il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties then we will meet at the end. Let’s see who will sur­ren­der first. Be­cause we wont stop in go­ing against you.)

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