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5 Ormoc cops face murder raps over summary killing of 60-yr-old phone thief

Five policemen are facing murder and arbitrary complaints in connection with the killing and illegal detention of a 60-year-old phone thief last month.

Chief Inspector Shevert Alvin Machete, Kananga town police chief, said among those charged with murder charges was Chief Inspector Omar Cartalla, chief of Ormoc City Police Station 1.

Also charged with murder were Station 1 members Police Officer 3 Eleazar Tero, Police Officer 2 Ernie Clemencio and Police Officers 1 Ritchie Sy and Ryan Refuerzo.

Tero and Clemenzio are facing separate charges of arbitrary detention.

Machete said the policemen were charged before the Ormoc City Prosecutor's Office last Monday due to the death 60-year-old Lorna Soza, a residnet of Tacloban City.

He said Soza was arrested on August 6 after she was caught by a CCTV camera stealing a mobile phone from a store in Ormoc City and was brought to Police Station 1.

During interrogation, Soza admitted to stealing the phone and asked for forgiveness from the store owner and even paid an amount of P10,300.

The store owner did not file any charges against Soza after paying the amount, but she was continuously detained at the police station's female cell.

Machete said that based on their investigation, policemen pulled out Soza from the detention cell at around 1 a.m. on August 11 and loaded to a police vehicle.

She was later found dead along the national highway of Barangay Naghalin in Kananga town.

The old woman's face, which bore a gunshot wound, was covered with packaging tape and her hands died.

Machete said the five policemen have been relieved from their posts and placed under restrictive custody at the Eastern Visayas Police Regional Office. —report from Robert Dejon/ALG, GMA News