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Dumaguete City, Philippines Wednesday, July 16, 2014
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CHR recommends admin
raps, relief of Bayawan cop

The Commission on Human Rights in Negros Oriental recommended the filing of administrative charges against a policeman assigned in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, after finding probable cause for human rights violations against a farmer in the city.

CHR special investigator, Jess Cañete, said yesterday that he has ended his probe on the case involving Roger Calumba, of Sitio Candagway in Barangay Bugay, Bayawan City, who sought his help after an encounter with PO1 John Karl Niaga and some police auxiliary members in March.

Cañete said he will submit his report to the CHR regional office with his recommendations for administrative action against Niaga.

These include the filing before the Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine National Police of a grave misconduct case for probable violation of domicile and unlawful arrest, oppression for probable light threats, and dishonesty for probable misrepresentation of himself and those of his companions as Bais City policemen.

Cañete recommended that Niaga be subjected to administrative investigation by the Investigation Section of the Negros Oriental PNP, and that he be replaced as “handler” of police auxiliaries for his “incapacity” to perform the functions for the position.

Cañete said his findings show probable unlawful arrest, illegal search, coercion and grave threats, among others, that Niaga and his companions probably committed when they “arrested” Calumba on March 21.

A group later identified as Niaga and some police auxiliaries, one of them identified as Rosette dela Cruz, came to Calumba’s house at around 1 a.m.

Calumba told reporters at the CHR office yesterday, that Niaga and his companions, numbering 15 to 20 and carrying high-powered firearms, such as AK-47s and M-14 rifles, called out to him as they surrounded his house.

The men allegedly entered his house without a search warrant or any legal basis and rummaged around until they found his firearm, and pointed the armalite rifle at him.

Because of the firearm found in his house, Niaga and his group “arrested” Calumba and took him to the barangay hall for booking. On their way, Calumba said Niaga hit him on his face with his rifle.

Calumba said he panicked, fled towards a river bank. Niaga and his companions pursued him but he managed to escape, he added.

He went to the police station in Bayawan next day to have the incident recorded in the blotter. Cañete said there was no formal report of the incident involving Calumba, Niaga and the police auxiliaries.

Calumba is facing a charge of illegal possession of a firearm after the Bayawan police lodged a complaint against him much later. Meanwhile, Calumba said he and his family had left Bayawan after learning that Niaga and his companions were out to get him.

Cañete is pushing for Niaga’s relief from the Bayawan police, pending the investigation of the administrative charges to be filed against him. Niaga was asked to respond to the charges against him but he did not answer them, only submitted an affidavit of arrest, Cañete said.*JFP

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