By Aaron Recuenco
How far would you go to own an iPhone X?
This police colonel from Bulacan may have sacrificed his career and reputation for one.
On Saturday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced the arrest of Superintendent Juwendela Cruz for allegedly extorting the expensive smartphone from a brother of a drug personality his men had earlier arrested. Dela Cruz is currently the chief of police of Bocaue town.
Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, commander of the Counter-Intelligence Task Force (CITF), said the operations against Dela Cruz stemmed from the complaint of a brother of an arrested drug suspect, who personally sought assistance from their office at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
After receiving the complaint, Caramatimmediately mapped out an entrapment operation.
At 12:10 a.m. Saturday, Dela Cruz was arrested by anti-scalawags cops after receiving the brand new phone in Bocaue.
In his complaint, the drug suspect’s brother told the CITF that his brother was arrested in an operation on September 5 in Bocaue.
The Bulacan drug enforcement operatives allegedly took the sports utility vehicle of the suspect although it was not supposed to be part of the evidence. The vehicle was placed under the custody of the local police.
“However, the vehicle was reportedly being used for police operations and personal travel of the arrested chief of police,” said Caramat.
When the suspect’s relatives found this out and tried to get the car, Dela Cruz allegedly declared that he would only release the vehicle if they give him the most expensive model of iPhone X.
During the investigation, CITF operatives found out that the SUV was not declared in the police blotter as part of the evidence.
But it did not end there.
At the course of the investigation, one of the policemen in the area squealed that it is actually the modus operandi of Dela Cruz – that the cars are only released if certain amount of money or expensive items are given to the chief of police.
“This resulted in follow-operations wherein we were able to confiscate several other motor vehicles,” said Caramat.
Among those confiscated allegedly in possession of Dela Cruz were two sedans and two motorcycles.
“All are found not included on the inventory of confiscated items from various police drug operations of the said police station,” said Caramat.
The arrested police official is now under the custody of CITF. He is currently the highest police official arrested by the CITF since its creation in February last year.
Nearly 100 erring cops were arrested by the CITF, mostly due to extortion, while at least five other cops were killed in a shootout.