MANILA - A police officer in Mangaldan town, Pangasinan was arrested Thursday for allegedly driving a vehicle earlier recovered in a car theft case.
The Philippine National Police Counter Intelligence Task Force (PNP-CITF) arrested SPO3 Jonathan Sanchez when he was caught in the act of driving an allegedly stolen van in Barangay Navaluan, Mangaldan, Pangasinan.
The suspect insisted the van was an office vehicle.
“Sa opisina ito, sa opisina ito (It is owned by the office),” Sanchez said.
Based on PNP-CITF's investigation, the vehicle was recovered by Mangaldan Police from members of a Budol-budol gang who stole it from rent-a-car business owner Rosa Pamor.
Pamor said Mangaldan police personnel denied recovering the vehicle despite the suspects' arrest.
“Itinanggi sa amin ng pulis, ang sabi sa amin, wala silang narekober na sasakyan pero may tao silang nahuli,” Pamor said.
(Police denied it, they told us that they did not recover any vehicle but they arrested someone.)
PNP-CITF commander Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. said the victim received information that her vehicle was seen at the Mangaldan Police Station.
Surveillance video showed the van was parked at the police station and that officers, particularly Sanchez, used the vehicle.
Caramat said it was obvious the suspect intended to take the vehicle because the plate number was also altered.
“Mas lalong madidiin itong suspect dahil (The suspect will further be implicated because) they failed to declare or put into the inventory book when they recovered the vehicle,” he said.
Authorities also recovered an unlicensed gun from the suspect.
PNP-CITF said it was investigating if the Mangaldan police chief was involved.
The suspect will face administrative charges, a case for alleged violation of the Anti-Carnapping Act, and illegal possession of firearms.
PNP-CITF said it has received numerous complaints against some police officers for missing items like cellphones, money and vehicles recovered in police operations.