MANILA - Twelve more members of the Southern Police District (SPD) were relieved of their posts on Wednesday, two days after their unit commander, Supt. Erwin Emelo, was accused of raping a nightclub model from the Pasay City bar they earlier raided.
The sacked policemen included Emelo's deputy, Senior Insp. Marlo Besoña, and 11 other members of the SPD's Special Operations Unit, whose predawn operation on Oct. 23 ended in another major scandal involving the police.
The 12 officers were found committing "procedural lapses" when they arrested 62 employees of the Universe Entertainment KTV Bar & Club and had them detained at the SPD headquarters for alleged lack of working permits.
One of the arrested employees, "Leila," filed a rape complaint Monday in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Emelo, saying he asked her to see him at his SPD office and sexually assaulted her inside his sleeping quarters hours after the raid.
Leila claimed that Emelo forced himself on her in the presence of another female bar worker. Before the assault, he asked her if she could be his "girlfriend" but later made her choose between having sex or being charged like the other employees, she added.
SPD spokesperson Supt. Jenny Tecson on Wednesday said Emelo's men were transferred from Special Operations to the District Personnel Holding and Accounting Services on orders from Chief Supt. Henry Rañola Jr., the district director.
"We saw procedural lapses (in the raid)," said Senior Supt. Edgar Danao, the SPD chief of staff who is also investigating the Oct. 23 operation.
Danao also disclosed that "the case against the bar employees was RFI-ed (released for further investigation)."
"We don't want (the relieved policemen) to influence the case," Danao added.
Danao noted that the result of the raid-the number of arrested persons, the time of their arrest and release-was duly recorded in the SOU logbook.
When checked by the Inquirer, one entry in the logbook showed that the arrested bar employees were ordered released from detention at 10:15 p.m. of Oct. 23, after undergoing inquest proceedings at the Pasay City Prosecutor's Office in the mid-afternoon.
But the name of the rape complainant was not on the list of 62 individuals who were released.
Tecson said it was up to the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service to determine "the degree of administrative culpability" of any of the relieved policemen.
Emelo was relieved of his post on Oct. 25, the same day Leila went to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Crame, where she first reported the alleged rape before going to the NBI.