The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found sufficient basis to indict three police officers for robbery and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance of a cockfight enthusiast or “sabungero” in Laguna in August 2021.
The DOJ investigating panel found probable cause to indict police officers Police Staff Sgt. Daryl Paghangaan and patrolmen Roy Navarete and Rigel Brosas, after they were positively identified by the relatives of the victim, Ricardo Lasco.
Based on the complaint of Lasco’s relatives, a group of armed men suddenly entered their residence located at CG Brion Subdivision, Brgy. San Lucas, San Pablo City, Laguna and arrested Lasco for the alleged crime of large scale estafa on Aug. 30, 2021.
The complainants further alleged that the armed men introduced themselves as operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation.
The complainants also alleged that the policemen took several valuables owned by them while they were being held in the living room.
A complaint for kidnapping was initially filed against the armed men with the Office of the City Prosecutor of San Pablo City, but that complaint was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Later, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Special Investigation Task Group Sabungero (CIDG SITG Sabungero) took jurisdiction of the case and conducted further investigation and case build-up.
During its investigation, the CIDG SITG Sabungero managed to identify the armed men as members of the Philippine National Police and believed to be involved in the case of several missing cockfighting enthusiasts.
The armed men were identified as Paghangaan, Navarete, Brosas, Police Lt. Henry Sasaluya, Police Master Sgt. Michael Claveria and several John Does.
The CIDG SITG Sabungero then filed a complaint before the DOJ. However, the panel recommended only the filing of charges against Paghangaan, Navarete and Brosas as they were the ones identified by the complainants.
The complaints against the rest of the respondents were dismissed.
The DOJ said the case against the police officers will be filed with the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City, Laguna.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla met with officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government, NBI and PNP together with the families of the victims of the missing sabungeros.
Remulla had assured the victims’ families that the DOJ, DILG, NBI, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) would work together for a swift investigation, resolution, and prosecution of the case.