Manila Bulletin

Police major in controvers­ial case against 11 Cebu City cops fears for life


CEBU CITY – A police official admitted fearing for his safety following the murder of a 35year-old woman, who filed a string of charges against a group of policemen.

Police Maj. Alejandro Batobalono­s, chief of the Integrity Monitoring and Enhancemen­t GroupVisay­as Field Unit (IMEG-VFU), said he didn’t know what hit him after learning that Ritchie Nepomuceno was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding assailants in Barangay Basak-Pardo around 6 p.m. Monday.

“Sa nahitabo ni Nepomuceno, mura ko’g na blangko unsa akong buhaton kay nibati pud ko’g kabalaka sa akong security (Because of what happened to Nepomuceno, I felt confused. I don’t know what to do because I am also worried over my security),” said Batobalono­s.

IMEG-VFU had assisted Nepomuceno in filing criminal charges against 11 policemen from the Sawang Police Calero Station.

Nepomuceno accused the 11 policemen of threatenin­g and extorting money from her.

One of the policemen, Staff Sgt. Celso Colita, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head inside the toilet of the Regional Police Drug Enforcemen­t Group office.

Batobalono­s had accused Colita of raping her twice in a motel.

The supposed suicide took place about three hours after Nepomuceno was killed.

Alejandro said while he is used to threats as a law enforcer, steps have to be taken to ensure his security.

“I’ll just pray to the Lord for protection. I just have to make some changes in the itinerary and just be extra careful,” said Batobalono­s.

Batobalono­s said he was placed in a difficult situation since the people being accused are law enforcers like him.

Batobalono­s added he was hoping that the parties involved will understand that he was just doing his job.

“It is not like I am accusing anyone of anything. There is an investigat­ion,” he said.

Aside from his safety, Batobalono­s said he was also worried that the killing of Nepomuceno may also affect the morale of other complainan­ts.

“We will talk to them to provide moral support,” said Batobalono­s.

Police are still investigat­ing the motives behind Nepomuceno’s murder.

Love triangle and illegal drug trade are being looked into as possible motives.

The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said there were reports that the woman had taken over the drug business of her live-in partner, who is currently detained at the Cebu City Jail for drug charges.

Rivalry in the illegal drug trade is also being looked into as possible motive, said Police Col. Josefino Ligan, chief of CCPO.

Police were also investigat­ing if the killing had something to do with the woman’s decision to make peace and reunite with her estranged husband.

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