Woman accused of stealing milk cries torture

by Carine Asutilla, ABS-CBN Central Visayas

Posted at Oct 11 2012 11:48 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2012 07:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A woman who was caught stealing a box of powdered milk for her 2-month-old son has claimed that she was tortured by store owner before she was taken to the police.

Residents of South Poblacion in San Fernando town, Cebu rushed to a grocery store owned by Hazel Busa Thursday morning, after they learned that Alma Aureo was allegedly mauled by Busa and his security guard identified as Jeovani Burdado.

Aureo was caught by workers of the grocery store Wednesday evening shoplifting. She put a box of powdered milk under her pants while pretending to buy a detergent powder.

"I only took the milk because my child needed it. He was having fever and I don't have money to buy medicines and milk for him," Aureo said.

She said she asked for forgiveness and offered to pay the milk once she has the money.

But Aureo said instead of considering her offer, she was detained for more than two hours and alleged that she was tortured by Busa and Burdado.

"They hammered my hands using the guard's gun. Busa slapped me several times and even poked my forehead using a gun also. I was crying in pain. But they covered my face with plastic," Aureo said.

Aureo's niece and some of the residents saw her coming out of the store with blood on her lips and bruises.

"There were bruises in her arms, face, and she had a cut in her lips," Aureo's niece, Mildred Alperez said.

PO1 Lauro Laurel of San Fernando Police Station said that when Aureo arrived in the police station, she did not complain about how she was treated.

They also did not notice the bruises and the blood but knew that Aureo was complaining about her right pinky finger in pain.

"We asked her if she wanted to be sent to the health center but Aureo refused. She only wanted to get out from detention," Laurel said.

Aureo later talked with Busa and asked if they could settle the matter. Busa agreed and she had Aureo signed an agreement that Aureo will not file any complaint and Busa will also not file a complaint against Aureo who allegedly took a box of milk worth over P1,700.

ABS-CBN tried to get the side of Busa but she was not in her store and her employees were not able to contact her.

The security guard, Burdado, did not report for work.