City of San Fernando—Veteran journalist Orlan Mauricio on Thursday formally filed criminal complaints before the National Bureau of Investigation-Central Luzon Regional Office against members of Bulacan police who ‘illegally’ raided his residence in search for alleged illegal drugs and unlicensed firearms at his residence in Barangay Mojon, Malolos City late Wednesday afternoon.
Mauricio also sought protection from the NBI for fear of his life, believing that a a powerful politician is apparently “after his neck”.
The complaints include intimidation and harassment as no firearm and even small amount of illegal drugs were found inside Mauricio’s residence during the search that lasted for two hours.
“I asked for a copy of the search warrant but they did not show it to me and instead they took away my phone and was herded at gunpoint to the kitchen and stayed there until the search was completed,” said Mauricio over the phone.
Mauricio said that the raiding team led by a certain Major Jaafar arrived past 5 p.m. and stayed until 7 p.m.
Mauricio, 61, correspondent of Manila Standard and publisher of a community paper in Bulacan, said a search warrant issued by a local court in Bulacan was shown to him only after the search was made.
The target of the raid was Mauricio’s son, Oliver Paul who was not around when the police served the search warrant.
The National Press Club of the Philippines denounced to the strongest possible terms the September 23, 2020 raid at the residence of Mauricio, a lifetime member of the NPC.
“What is more reprehensible in this incident is that, even while the questionable search is ongoing, messages claiming the raid is about illegal drugs is already going the rounds in the province and among the members of the press and coming no less from a high ranking provincial official,” the NPC said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Bulacan PNP Press Corps urged PNP chief Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan to order an investigation into the “Gestapo-like” raid conducted by a 20-man non-uniformed but heavily-armed policemen on Mauricio’s residence.
Mauricio said that more than 20 raiders claiming to be members of the Bulacan PNP, with two policewomen who acted as videographers, none of them wearing police uniform and all heavily armed and bearing bulletproof vest and bandanas, forcibly entered his home without identifying themselves and their mission.
“There were more than 20 raiders, 2 policewomen raw na taga-video at walang naka-uniform kahit isa. Lahat naka-bandana at bulletproof vest. Gestapo-like raid ang ginawa hindi serving of SW,” Mauricio said.
“After two hours kaming herded and incommunicado, seized our phones, with guns pointed at me and my wife, saka lang pinakita at nilabas ang SW after searching all over our house for almost two hours. Kundi pa dumating ang barangay na pinatawag ng mga kapitbahay, di nila ipapakita yung dala nilang SW,” he added.
Romie Evangelista, member of the Bulacan PNP Press Corps, urged Cascolan to conduct an in-depth probe against the members of the still unknown and ununiformed police raiding team at Mauricio’s home and order Bulacan PNP acting provincial director Col. Lawrence Cajipe to make public the after-activity report of his men about the raid.
“Mukhang pilipit yung ginawang raid sa bahay ni Orlan. Una, walang nagpakilala kung sino mga kasapi ng raiding team. Pangalawa, wala ni isa mang naka-uniform sa kanila at lahat ay naka-bulletproof vest at bandana lang. Pangatlo, meron namang Bulacan RTC na pwedeng kunan nila ng search warrant. Pero sa Bulacan Metropolitan Trial Court sila kumuna ng SW. Baka gawa-gawa lang nila ang SW na dala nila,” Evangelista said.
In the course of the raid, the police was said to be looking for illegal drugs, not guns.
When asked for comment, Col. Calipoe said the search was done in accordance with proper procedure. He said the subject of the search warrant (Oliver Paul), his father (Orlan), a lawyer and barangay officials witnessed the procedure of search and documents were signed and issued.
“Bulacan police continues its relentless drive to recover and seize loose firearms through the implementation of search warrant against illegal gunowners and drive against illegal drugs,” said Cajipe in a statement sent to reporters.