BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Eight years after they were charged by their colleague, six Bacolod policemen were exonerated of both criminal and administrative charges by the Office of the Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices.
The decision, penned by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Ma. Josenia Nero, and approved by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, dismissed the complaints against P/Captain Ritchie Gohee, P/Staff Sgt. Ritchie Jocson and P/Corporals Adrian Mananquil, Sonny Pesales, Justine Positar, and Arthur Torres.
The criminal case for arbitrary detention and unlawful arrest, and administrative complaints for misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service were filed against the policemen by their colleague, P/Executive Master Sgt. Roberto Arrazola, who is an organic member of the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office, in 2013.
In the copy of the order furnished by Gohee to the DAILY STAR, the Ombudsman cited lack of probable cause in dismissing the criminal charges against the accused policemen, who “acted in good faith” when they arrested Arrazola.
As to the administrative complaints, the Ombudsman said there was regularity in the performance of the accused policemen’s duty when they arrested Arrazola, adding that, there is no basis to hold them administratively liable.
In his complaint, Arrazola claimed that on June 3, 2013 when he attended a mediation hearing at the Barangay Granada hall in connection with the complaint filed by Ryan Jereza against him, Gohee and his men apprehended him without an arrest warrant and even pointed their high-powered firearms at him.
The City Prosecutor’s Office initially found probable cause and elevated the criminal charges against the policemen before the Municipal Trial Circuit Court, but the same was dismissed later.
Gohee said they were finally vindicated as they only did their job in arresting the complainant who, he said, was violating the Commission on Elections gun ban as he was carrying his firearm despite not being in the prescribed uniform.*