Cop couple relieved for alleged harassment of local reporters in Leyte

By Justine Rich Talusan

TWO policemen in Leyte were relieved of their duties for allegedly harassing three local mediamen last Friday.

According to Leyte Police Provincial Office OIC Lt. Col. Ricky Reli, he has ordered the administrative relief of SSgt. Rhea May Baleos of the Sta. Fe Municipal Police Station, and her husband, PSSgt. Ver Baleos of the Pastrana Municipal Police Station.

The cop couple are undergoing investigation following a complaint by three local mediamen that they were harassed last Friday.

The alleged incident took place in Sitio Cancamartes, Bgy. Jones in Pastrana.

An investigation showed that the incident stemmed from a land dispute between  Moises Empillo and Anecita  and Virgilio Nogal.

 Empillo claimed to be the owner of the rice field at Sitio Cancamartes while the Nogal couple were also claiming they were the rightful owner of the property. However, in 2017, Empillo mortgaged the rice field to the policewoman.

During the dispute, the policewoman sought the assistance of the Pastrana police as she and the female Nogal were arguing who is the legal owner of the farm.

However, the policewoman reportedly noticed that while she and Nogal were arguing, reporter Noel Sianosa  was taking video footage of their altercation.

The policewoman also figured in an argument with Sianosa and his two colleagues.

The local mediamen later claimed they heard gunshots and saw policemen in uniform.

The cop couple were relieved from their posts and reassigned to the Leyte police headquarters. They were also asked to turn over their issued firearms for a ballistics examination.

 “We are still investigating the incident and rest assured that we will not be biased with our investigation and if proven that our personnel have truly committed all the accusations, our office will not tolerate such misconduct,”  Reli said.

 “While we highly recognize the role of the media in the delivery of impartial and factual information to the general public, we also do our best to protect their rights and safety,” he added..