Suspend cops in Vhong Navarro case – PNP probers

Bea Cupin
4 members of the Southern Police District face suspension for 20 days for 'neglect of duty' in the investigation of the controversial case

DENIECE AND A POLICE BLOTTER. The NCRPO's Internal Affairs Service recommends a 20-day suspension for 4 cops over alleged lapses in its investigation of the Vhong Navarro-Deniece Cornejo case. File photo by Jose Del/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police-National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) recommended the 20-day suspension of 4 cops involved in the controversial filling of a police blotter against ABS-CBN TV host and comedian Vhong Navarro in January.

In a memorandum, NCRPO Internal Affairs Service director Chief Superintendent Oriel Arao Bragais recommended the suspension of Senior Inspector Eduardo Alcantara, PO3 Dalmacio Lumiuan Jr., PO3 Eugene Pugal and PO3 Rolly Laurento because they were “found liable for neglect of duty.”

In a text message to Rappler, PNP Public Information Office head Chief Superintendent Theodore Sindac said the recommendations were made because of the cops’ “lapses in the conduct of investigation on the said case.” 

A suspension will result in the forfeiture of their salaries during the period, according to a memorandum dated April 8, 2014.

All 4 are under the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) of the Southern Police District (SPD), which is under the NCRPO.

Earlier, the 4, along with Superintendent Nelson Bautista were “relieved administratively” after they allegedly committed lapses in the way they handled the case involving Navarro and model Deniece Cornejo. The incident turned into a scandal that lasted months and at one time pitted the country’s 2 giant TV networks against each other: ABS-CBN and GMA network. It was GMA that was among the first media agencies that reported about Cornejo’s rape allegations against the ABS-CBN talent.

Based on the police blotter, Navarro allegedly raped Cornejo on January 22 in her condominium unit in Taguig. As a result, Cornejo reportedly called for help from friends – thus the arrival of Cedric Lee and his group who eventually mauled Navarro. Cornejo’s camp earlier said the police blotter, which was issued at the SPD, is proof that Navarro tried to rape her.

Navarro denied the rape allegations and said the blotter was filed as a means of blackmail. He said Cornejo and Lee were trying to extort cash from him.

Last week, the justice department dismissed the rape complaint of Cornejo while finding probable cause to indict Lee, Cornejo, and 5 others for serious illegal detention and grave coercion.

Lapses in the DIDM SPD’s handling of the case prompted PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to issue new rules in the filing of blotters. (READ: Lapses in Vhong Navarro case prompts new rules on blotters)

Only “frontline” policemen and units are allowed to process blotters or police personnel with “the capability to investigate.” – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.