CIDG-NCR chief, 12 others axed for robbery extortion

A total of 13 members of the National Capital Region unit of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, including its head, were relieved over robbery extortion complaints by a group of Chinese businessmen in Parañaque City.

CIDG director Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. on Thursday said the relief order was based on the complaint of one of the victims who sought the assistance of Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, deputy chief for the administration of the Philippine National Police.

The CIDG operatives allegedly took expensive watches and other personal belongings from the complainant’s friends on Monday night.

Sacked were Col. Hansel Marantan, director of the CIDG-NCR, two other officers, and 10 police non-commissioned officers.

The victims told Sermonia that the CIDG operatives also took P3 million from a safety box and demanded more money from them in exchange for their freedom.

Caramat clarified that the relief of Marantan adhered to the command responsibility policy.

“In fairness to Colonel Marantan, I just received his courtesy resignation as regional chief of the NCR field unit. Maybe so as not to influence the investigation regarding the robbery extortion activity,” Caramat told reporters in a chance interview in Camp Crame.

He added that the matter is now being investigated.

“Their relief is SOP (standard operating procedure) so as not to have undue influence over the case,” he said.

Sermonia said the policemen entered one of the houses of a Chinese businessman who was then playing mahjong with friends and fellow businessmen.

He said the cops told the victims they were checking on a noise complaint by their neighbors.

“They started arresting those people and said their offense was illegal gambling,” Sermonia told reporters.

The policemen allegedly took two expensive watches, a Patek Philippe and a Richard Mille, and other pieces of jewelry.

Sermonia said the policemen also took cash from a safety box amounting to P3 million.

“The 13 arrested persons were brought to the CIDG-NCR office in Camp Crame and in exchange for their freedom, according to the complainants, they gave money to our operatives,” Sermonia said.

Some of the jewelry, including the two expensive watches, were recovered.

As deputy chief for administration, Sermonia said he had to ensure that internal discipline was being upheld by the police at all times, especially integrity and honesty.

“It’s sad that we still have police officers like these, though only a few, but the PNP will not allow them to go unpunished,” he said.

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