Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago yesterday docketed the report published in Cebu Daily News for a fact-finding inquiry.
She faxed a photocopy of the article to the Office of the Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (Moleo) in Manila which has jurisdiction over cases involving policemen and other law enforcers.
“The CIDG-7 will be forced to divulge details to the Moleo regarding the controversy,” Santiago said in an interview.
CDN’s report was based on the revelation of Renante Pique, father of 6-year-old Ellah Joy, whose disappearance and death last February 8 led to the filing of criminal charges against Santos and her British boyfriend, Ian Charles Griffiths.
Pique said a member of PNP Task Force Ellah Joy told him that Santos eluded arrest in an operation in Bohol because she was probably tipped off by a law enforcer.
The source told Pique that a CIDG-7 agent was found to have incriminating messages in his cellphone that showed he was allegedly recieving a monthly stipend of P20,000 from Santos.
The agent denied the allegation, however, and other police officials denied knowledge of the report.
Senior Supt. Jose Pante, chief of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-7), said he would conduct an investigation if there’s really a mole of Santos in his office.
Pante appealed to those, who had knowledge of one of his men allegedly being Santos’ informant, to come out so that he could file charges against those involved.
Despite the report, Pante said the agency would continue to be the lead agency in the hunt for Santos because the CIDG-7 already invested a lot of time and effort in the case.
Meanwhile, Assistant Ombudsman Santiago said an investigation would be conducted in order to determine whether or not Renante’s revelation was true.
“At least, we have to gather evidence. We don’t know if the report is authentic or not. We still have to verify it,” she said.
Santiago said the allegation involves bribery and obstruction of justice.
Lawyer Noemi Truya-Abarientos, counsel of the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB), said Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, head of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) should do something if ever the report is true.
“We still rely on his (Comendador) integrity and dedication to help in the prosecution of this case. It is just unfortunate that some people within the police force are willing to smear the police reputation for P20,000 a month. It is a slap on the face of the men in uniform who are sincere in the performance of their jobs,” said Abarientos.
CLB lawyers represent the victim’s family in the case.
Other than Renante, a second source who requested anonymity confirmed his report about a “mole” in the CIDG-7 who was exposed.
Last month, the source said the CIDG-7 agent was found to be communicating with Santos, which CIDG- 7 officials learned about when they got the agent’s cellphone.
The source said the agent being in touch with Santos, saying he left his cellphone somewhere and someone may have used it.
The agent may be transferred to a station in Mindanao after the incident, the source said.
The CIDG-7 is closely working with the task force to arrest Santos and her British partner Griffiths, who are facing kidnapping with homicide charges for allegedly killing Ellah Joy last Feb. 8. /with Correspondent Chito Aragon