Pampanga Vice Governor Dennis Pineda has warned all chiefs of police (COP) in the province’s 19 towns and two cities not to transact with a so-called police asset allegedly involved in an extortion racket preying on fuel distributors.
Pineda ordered Supt. Joyce Patrick Sangalang, provincial police deputy director, to relay the warning to all COPs after discovering that a man identified as Jerry Villanueva is “not in the roster of confidential agents of the PPO [Pampanga police office].”
Villanueva, a so-called police asset, is among the subject of a complaint before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regarding extortion activities. The provincial legislative board held a hearing on Friday, September 9, in response to the said complaint filed by businessman Rogelio Yangco.
Board Members Rosve Henson and Ananias Canlas, chairs of the committees on public safety and justice, respectively, conducted the hearing.
In his letter-affidavit dated August 5, 2016, Yangco told the vice governor that Villanueva did the following actions: Blocked Yangco’s tanker truck at 2 a.m. of August 3 as it traversed the MacArthur Highway in Barangay Dolores, held the tanker at the Mabalacat police station, threatened to trump up a case for hijacking fuel, demanded P100,000 for the release of the tanker and accepted P50,000 in the presence of the chief of police of Mabalacat City, Chief Insp. Gil Domingo, inside the latter’s office.
Villanueva was absent in the hearing despite the board’s request to the Mabalacat City police to make him attend the hearing.
In a separate letter-affidavit, Yangco’s driver Arsenio Belleza Jr. said Villanueva ordered a policeman to detain him for over 13 hours at the police station. Belleza said a policeman took the key of truck. He said that although his boss gave Villanueva P50,000, Yangco’s tanker truck was emptied of 20,000 liters of gasoline estimated at P500,000 at an emission training center located three kilometers from the police station. The truck’s bumper was also damaged when Yangco recovered it at 8 p.m. of August 4.
“Ang hindi tama rito ay ginamit ang ating kapulisan, pati na ang istasyon ng pulis, sa maling gawain gaya ng sinasabi ni Mr. Yangco na pangingikil (What is not right here is that our policemen, including a police station, were used in a wrongdoing such as what Mr. Yangco called as extortion),” Vice Governor Pineda said toward the end of the hearing.
“We need to protect our police personnel from being used in wrongdoings,” the vice governor added.
Supt. Ruel Cagape, who replaced Chief Inspector Gil Domingo after the latter’s relief over alleged drug links, said Villanueva is “not part of the Mabalacat City police force.”
Cagape said the apprehension of Yangco’s truck was not in the blotter of the police.
Domingo confirmed knowing Villanueva. Asked by the vice governor who was Villanueva’s boss, Domingo said it was Senior Supt. Rodolfo Recomono, Pampanga provincial director.
Domingo also confirmed seeing Villanueva and Yangco talking in his office but said he did not know what they were talking about because the two men were speaking in Kapampangan, which he said he did not understand since he was Tagalog.
Domingo broke into tears during the hearing as he defended himself from allegations of extortion and illegal drugs protection.
Yangco told the board he would make Domingo a witness in a case against Villanueva.
The board is holding a second hearing to determine the extent of the racket and to hear the side of Villanueva and Recomono.
Vice Governor Pineda also requested police protection for Yangco and Belleza. MDDR