Police commander, 4 others arrested in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY: A local police official and four other policemen were arrested after they allegedly robbed jewelry and extorted money from a store owner during a drug raid, officials said on Tuesday.

Photo credits to 96.3 IFM Zamboanga

Brig. Gen. Ronaldo Genaro Ylagan, regional police chief, said arrested was Maj. Orlyn Leyte, police station commander in the village of Ayala. He said Leyte was arrested on Monday night by members of the Philippine National Police – Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (PNP-IMEG) led by Lt. Col. Mario Cortez, and other police units.

The others reportedly involved were SSgts. Hegenio Salvador, Asser Abdulkadim; Cpls. Ismael Sasapan and Juman Arabani – all members of Leyte’s Drug Enforcement Unit.

Undercover police recovered from Leyte some P90,000 in marked money, which was used to pay and settle the case against the store owner, whose identity was not made public by police for security reasons.

“The victim was robbed and divested of her jewelry and a week of her store earnings in the guise of a drug bust operation,” a police report said, adding, the suspects are all facing charges of robbery and extortion and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for Public Official and Employees.

Ylagan said: “The arrest of Maj. Orlyn Leyte in an entrapment operation for complaint of robbery, extortion is the result of PNP’s internal cleansing program. Once again, this Regional Office would like to make it clear that we do not tolerate any wrongdoings of our personnel either officers or members of the ranks.”

“While we intensify our campaign against illegal drugs and effectively manage all kinds of police operations, we do not want any unscrupulous schemes devised by our personnel to advance their personal interest. We will continue to cleanse our ranks in order to improve the best quality of law enforcement service in Zamboanga Peninsula.”

He said the implementation of the PNP internal cleansing program is relentless.

“The relentless effort of the PNP in the campaign against erring personnel and filing of appropriate charges against them are among the PNP’s steps to demonstrate its dedication to quality public service, transparency and accountability,” Ylagan said.

In January this year, Maj. Jivertson Pelovello, chief of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Zamboanga City Police Office, was also sacked from his post after he tested positive for illegal drug use. He was among 60 members of the local police force who underwent drug testing in December.

And in June 2020, undercover police agents also arrested Capt. Haran Ulah, the municipal police chief of Zamboanga del Norte’s Godod town in southern Philippines after he was accused of robbery and extortion.

Ulah allegedly demanded P10,000 so-called protection money from treasure hunter Jose Abarca. The money was in exchange for the unhampered treasure hunting activities of Abarca in the village of Raba.

Abarca reported the matter and sought the assistance of PNP-IMEG which drew up a plan to arrest the town’s police chief. Ulah was arrested in an entrapment operation at his office after receiving an initial P5,000 in marked money he demanded from Abarca.