■ Ofelia C. Empian
A former head of the Baguio City Police Office Intelligence Unit was acquitted from extortion and robbery charges filed by a robbery suspect.
In a 19-page decision dated Oct. 6, Baguio Regional Trial Court Branch 3 Judge Emmanuel Cacho Rasing has acquitted Lt/Col. Allan Docyogen of violation of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and violation of robbery with intimidation of persons.
The decision stated the testimony of the plaintiff, Allyson Ngina Aligan, was riddled with inconsistencies bolstered by the pieces of evidence gathered, as well as the testimonies of witnesses of the prosecution, which was full of contradictions.
The charges stemmed from the allegation of Aligan, a robbery suspect, who accused Docyogen of demanding P200,000 to prevent him from getting arrested using other warrants issued to arrest him.
Docyogen, then the chief of the BCPO Intelligence Unit, led the arrest of Aligan and another suspect on April 12, 2019 at Maharlika Livelihood Complex, Baguio City. The suspects have a warrant of arrest in a bank robbery case in Lucena City.
Aligan is included in the directorate for intelligence list for robbery groups operating nationwide as a member of the Beligen Acetylene Bolt Cutter Gang. The supposed members are known for digging tunnels leading to pawnshops and banks where they would steal from.
Based on Docyogen’s testimony, he asked Aligan, who is also from Mountain Province like he is, to be an informant of his other gang members to put a stop to their activities. Aligan appeared cooperative, thus their subsequent meetings, which ended in an entrapment on April 15, 2019.
In his testimony, Aligan said he reached out to the Philippine National Police Counter-Intelligence Task Force (CITF) after Docyogen demanded money from him. The CITF then set up the entrapment operation at a local restaurant in Baguio.
In his defense, Docyogen said he met Aligan to get information from him and that the latter was the one who placed the wad of money in his pocket stating “pang operasyon yo sir (for your operation sir)” then immediately walked away.
But as for Aligan’s testimony, he said it was Docyogen who instructed him to insert the money in a blue paper he was holding, then the police officer put the paper in his pocket.
The court said no blue paper was mentioned by the apprehending officers of CITF in their testimonies, as well as in the submitted pieces of evidence.
“The court is not impressed with the credibility of Allyson Aligan since from the start of his testimony, he was never candid, consistent and straightforward,” the decision stated.
The decision added that CITF officers Money Astrero and John Bustamante were not also helpful in their testimonies. The court stated that the duo was not present during the alleged pay-off between Aligan and Docyogen. They just arrested the accused, based on the signal made by Aligan after the alleged exchange of money was made.
The court said only Aligan and Docyogen could establish what really happened between them inside the restaurant, adding the prosecution should present its side with clarity and persuasion and to “justify the conviction of the accused with moral certainty.”
“Upon the prosecution’s failure to meet this test, acquittal becomes the constitutional duty of the court, lest its mind be tortured with the thought that it has imprisoned an innocent man for the rest of his life,” the decision read.