Mediaman files counter charges vs police officer

by Harley Palangchao & Liza Agoot

A mediaman filed a case for violation of his rights as an accused person before the People’s Law Enforcement Board  against the head of the police station who detained him unjustly last week after a minor vehicular accident.

Peoples Journal
photojournalist Cesar Reyes filed a criminal case against P/Insp. Joseph Fokno Del Castillo, chief of Baguio City Police Office Compac 4, for violation of Republic Act 7438 or incriminating an innocent person as well as delay in the delivery of detained persons. An administrative case for grave abuse of power and authority was also filed against the police officer.

This stemmed after the police proceeded to detain Reyes from midnight of Sept. 18 up to noon of Sept. 22 for charges of grave threat and
illegal possession of fire arms without his knowledge.

To recall, Reyes was involved in a vehicular incident night of Sept. 18 along Session Road, when he bumped into a KIA pride taxi driven by Jaime Caccam. Caccam then called for back up from fellow drivers and his operator Carlos Abrigo. Reyes said that he was forced to bring out his gun when one person pushed him to the ground after being verbally abused by several other men.

To settle the matter, Reyes paid P2,000 for the supposed damage to the taxi while Abrigo said he forgave the journalist. The amicable settlement was logged in the police blotter of Compac 4.

But what surprised Reyes was that Abrigo went back to file a case for grave threat against him after the amicable settlement. More surprising to Reyes was why he was charged for illegal possession by Del Castillo when he voluntarily surrendered his gun and necessary documents to the authorities. Del Castillo even attested that the firearm seized by two of his men from Reyes was turned over to him together with the firearm license card and permit to carry outside of residence.

“When I was detained at Compac 4, I was never informed that I was being investigated. I was only made to believe that I will just raise the amount of P2,000 to pay Abrigo. There is therefore no basis for Del Castillo to state in his affidavit that he informed me of the nature and cause of my arrest and my constitutional rights as an accused because he never did,” Reyes said.

“The case for grave threat was unnecessary because Carlos Abrigo and I have already settled our differences as borne in the police blotter we both voluntarily signed,” he added.

Del Castillo also failed to deliver Reyes to the proper judicial authority during the entire period of his detention. From Compac 4, Reyes was brought to the City Jail 5 p.m. of Sept. 19. This was when he learned that he was being charged with grave threats by Abrigo and illegal possession of firearm by Del Castillo.

The mediaman was ordered released on Monday by the City Prosecutor’s Office after inquest prosecutor Ruth Bernabe dismissed for lack of probable cause the illegal possession of firearm case filed against him. “There is no probable cause to indict the respondent of violation of illegal possession of firearm. It appears from the records of the case that the respondent was able to present a license for the said firearm as a permit to carry,” reads Bernabe’s resolution.

Lawyers Richard Cariño and partner Christian Ulpindo, who acted as Reyes’ legal counsels, said they do not want to pre-empt their next move.

As of Sept. 26, however, Del Castillo continues to unjustly withhold Reyes’ firearm license and permit to carry.(BaguioMidlandCourier)


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