Oro cop official denies police brutality in arrest of suspect

Dec. 05, 2018

Macasandig police chief, Insp. Mario Mantala Jr., shows to reporters the Facebook account where the photos of a robbery suspect, alleged to be mauled by police officers from the Macabalan station, were posted. The owner of the Facebook account, identified as “Hostado Abogado,” has accused the police as behind the physical assault. The account has either been deactivated or deleted as of Wednesday morning, Dec. 5. (Jigger J. Jerusalem/davaotoday.com)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – A video and photos of a young man covered in blood and who appeared to have been mauled has gone viral on social media prompting the police unit in Barangay Macasandig to deny that some of its officers were behind the manhandling.

A certain “Hostado Abogado,” the one who posted the video and photos on the Facebook account that bears the same name, has accused the Macasandig police of beating Janbert Pagula, 23, from Divine Mercy village in Barangay Patag, Opol town, Misamis Oriental.

The video shows Pagula sitting inside the sidecar of a motorcycle-powered “motorela” and was slapped by a person whose face was not shown.

But Macasandig police station commander Insp. Mario Mantala Jr. said the Facebook posts are “not true and it was only merely fabricated by the evil minds.”

Mantala said that Pagula was arrested by the police following a robbery outside a convenience store in Macasandig on Thursday, Nov. 29 at around 7:40 in the evening.

Per police report, Pagula was with a group of men who allegedly robbed a 22-year-old female and took her cellphone and P3,999 in cash.

During the pursuit operation at Upper 20th St. in Barangay Nazareth, police said Pagula was arrested by concerned citizens who turned him over to authorities.

Police noted that before the responding officers came, the suspect was allegedly mauled by the villagers and succumbed to multiple injuries before he was handed to the law enforcers.

When interviewed, Pagula admitted the two young men he was with when the robbery happened were his friend but denied he took part in the alleged crime.

“I had nothing to do with the robbery although they (other suspects) were my friends,” Pagula told this reporter in vernacular.

Pagula also disproved the allegation that a group of police officers from the Macasandig police manhandled him.

“Mga tambay man ‘to nagkulata sa ako pero wala ko kaila sa ila (those who assaulted me were bystanders but I didn’t recognize any of them),” he added.

Pagula told investigators about 30 residents, whose identities have yet to be known, took turns in mauling him.

“It was a good thing that the police came or he would have been badly beaten,” Mantala said, adding arresting officers brought him to a medical facility for treatment.

“The suspect (Pagula) is in good physical condition. He was properly turned over by our civilian volunteers,”

Mantala said none of his personnel were involved in beating Pagula adding that, in fact, his station was one of the awardees as a most child-friendly police station in the city.

He added no one from his unit has been charged with criminal or administrative offense at present.

Pagula will be facing charges for robbery and possession of illegal weapon, he said.

For his part, Supt. Surki Sereñas, police regional office spokesperson, said they will conduct an investigation into the incident.

“The victim may have been involved in the commission of crimes, but we should not put the law in our hands. We are not barbarians. Whoever did it will be accountable, whether the police or bystander,” Sereñas said.

“I believe the police are fully aware of what the law require or prohibit,” he said, adding that the respect for human rights is basic. “We are all aware of it. No one is exempt from compliance and adherence to it; civilians, police or military.” (davaotoday.com)

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