Disparities, errors of fact

FACTUAL disparities, possibly errors, litter the various documents and media reports on the criminal and two administrative cases that were filed against Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza and his four co-accused colleagues. Bad police investigation work seems at work, at the very least.

For one, the complainant Christian M. Kalaw was enrolled as having three addresses – No. 188 P. Torres St, Lipa City (his family’s hometown); 3699 Bautista Street, Palanan, Makati City; and 9K Manhattan Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.

For another, he was identified as Amado Christian Kalaw y Marasigan (his mother’s surname) and as Christian Kalaw y Mayo (the surname of his paternal grandmother).

Some court documents also say Christian is 25 years old, while in others he is 29 or 30. And he is referred to as a student, college student, chef or assistant chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati.

In truth, Christian was employed with the hotel from Sept. 25, 2007 to March 28, 2008 only, according to the hotel’s executives. When he was arrested, Christian was no longer in the Mandarin’s employ, but they say his exit had nothing to do with an alleged problem with drugs.

On the night of his arrest on April 9, 2008 — for illegal parking and for driving without a license, according to the police — Christian was visited by a friend at the Manila Police District’s Mobile Division Unit office. This friend reportedly brought with him the P20,000 that Christian’s captors supposedly asked for before they would let him go.

That friend’s name? In one document filed with the Manila City Prosecutor’s office, Martin Albay. In another document, Martin Robert Pedrosa.

Yet it was Police Senior Supt. Clarence V. Guinto, chief of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (R7), who ordered the filing of administrative charges of grave misconduct against Mendoza twice over – before the Police Internal Affairs Service in May 2009, and later before the Ombudsman – who made the biggest factual error of all.

In his memorandum dated May 29, 2008, Guinto ordered the filing of charges against Mendoza and company, as well as their preventive suspension and disarming of weapons.

He wrote: “As per Investigation report submitted to this office by the MPD (Manila Police District) dated May 29, 2008, at about 10:30 in the evening of April 19, 2008, while Christian Kalaw, son of the e-mail sender, was sitting in his car parked at the corner of Vito Cruz and Taft Avenue, Manila, PO3 Gavino and PO2 Roderick Lopena approached him and stand (sic) in front of his car.”

Leave out the grammatical error, the big flaw in Guinto’s memo was this: Christian Kalaw was, in fact, arrested on April 9, 2008, or 10 days earlier. – PCIJ, September 2010