Policemen accused of illegally arresting a woman over alleged illegal drugs in Antipolo City last year on Thursday denied that they were the men seen on video accosting the suspect.
Police Major Juan Carlo Porciuncula, Corporals Pasul Pigcaulan and John Olaño, and Patrolman Mark Peregrino all attended Thursday's hearing of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety regarding the incident.
The CCTV footage was obtained by the House panel from the Antipolo City government through the efforts of Antipolo Representative Romeo Acop, with whom the female drug suspect, Ma. Victoria Perito, has sought assistance.
During the hearing, the policemen took turns in denying that they were the men on the video upon questioning by Laguna Representative Dan Fernandez, the committee chairperson.
"Sa CCTV [footage], no, your honor. Hindi po ako iyon," Pigcaulan responded when asked by Fernandez if he was the one in the video and if he was the one who received the envelope supposedly containing drug money from the suspect.
The CCTV shows men wearing civilian clothes running toward Perito and then later on forcing her to board a tricycle.
Since nobody was admitting being present during the arrest as shown on the CCTV and of knowing who the poseur-buyer was during the operation, Fernandez said there seems to be hardly a case against Perito, who is still in detention.
"Kung walang tumanggap sa inyo, in other words, walang kaso ito," Fernandez said.
Peregrino, in responding to the same question as to who was the poseur-buyer for the operation, also denied that they were the ones in the CCTV footage, as well as insisted that he was unaware of the identity of the poseur-buyer.
"Wala po kami diyan," Peregrino said. "Hindi po ako, Sir [ang poseur buyer].
Fernandez then said the other member of the arresting team, Olaño, could not be the poseur-buyer since he was the one in charge of taking video as evidence.
The police officials' response left Fernandez bewildered and warned the policemen that lying has consequences, including dismissal of the drug case they filed against the suspect.
"Sino ang tumanggap ng binigay ni Miss Perito? Iyon lang naman ang tanong, anong mahirap [sagutin] roon?" Fernandez said.
Fernandez warned the policemen that the faces of the men in the CCTV footage would be revealed once the video is enhanced.
"Your faces in the CCTV will eventually be revealed once it (video) is enhanced. And that will be submitted to court," he told the policemen.
"If you keep on lying, you will have a big problem," he added.
Perito's eight-year-old son earlier told the committee that he and his mother were suddenly made to board a vehicle by male individuals after her mother handed over the envelope, and that his mother was slapped and punched to force her to confess.
"Habang hindi po nakasagot si mama, sinasaktan po... Sinasampal po tska sinusuntok,"said the child in Dano Tingcungco's report on "24 Oras" on Thursday.
Porciuncula said the arrest of Perito happened past 10 p.m. even though the CCTV footage showed Perito and her son were made to board a vehicle around 6:30 p.m.
Perito has denied involvement in the illegal drug trade and said someone only asked her to hand over the envelope to a male person.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers said they've also been receiving reports that simillar incidents have taken place in other areas.
"I received a call from somebody from Tagaytay, sinasabi rin na ganon ang nangyari sa kanila. And one from Makati, kinuha sila sa Makati, sa Parañaque nangyari yung buy bust," said Acop
"Ibig sabihin (There’s a pattern)... Ganon ang nangyayari na and there were again two reported incidents ng mga relatives sa akin. From the Taytay Police Station and one from Antipolo Police station, ganon din ang nangyari sa kanila," he added. —KBK/ VAL, GMA Integrated News