A video and photos of a young man covered in blood and who appeared to have been mauled have gone viral on social media, prompting the police here to issue a strong denial that some of its officers were behind the manhandling.
A certain “Hostado Abogado” posted the video and photos on Facebook, accusing police personnel stationed in Barangay Macasandig of beating Janbert Pagula, 23, a resident of Opol town, Misamis Oriental.
The video shows Pagula sitting inside the sidecar of a motorcycle-powered “motorela” being slapped by a person whose face was not shown.
Insp. Mario Mantala Jr., Macasandig police station commander, said the Facebook posts are “not true and it was only merely fabricated by evil minds.”
Mantala said Pagula was arrested by the police following a robbery outside a convenience store in Macasandig at about 7:40 p.m. on November 29.
He said police authorities are also looking into bringing charges against Facebook users who accused them of police brutality.
“The viral post on Facebook, with negative comments against the personnel of Police Station 9, is not true and was merely fabricated by evil minds,” the police official said.
Mantala said Pagula was with a group of men who allegedly robbed a 22-year-old female and took her cell phone and some cash.
During the pursuit operation at Upper 20th St. in Barangay Nazareth, police said Pagula was arrested by concerned citizens who turned him over to authorities.
Police said Pagula was mauled by the villagers, sustaining multiple injuries before he was handed to the law enforcers.
Pagula admitted he was with the two other suspects when the robbery happened but denied he took part in the crime.
The suspect also cleared the policemen of beating him, saying it was the villagers who manhandled him.
Pagula told investigators that about 30 residents, whose identities have yet to be known, took turns in mauling him.
Mantala said Pagula will be facing charges for robbery and possession of illegal weapon.
Meanwhile, Supt. Surki Sereñas, Police Regional Office 10 (Northern Mindanao), said they will investigate the incident.
“The victim may have been involved in the commission of crimes, but we should not put the law in our hands. We are not barbarians. Whoever did it will be accountable, whether the police or bystanders,” Sereñas said. (PNA)