CEBU, Philippines — The common-law wife of Eddie Basillote, the man allegedly hit by cops in a video that has gone viral online, has alleged that their family has received death threats purportedly in an attempt to stop them from filing charges and so that they would take the video down.
The threats allegedly came from no less than Cebu City Police Director Royina Garma.
Speaking with reporters yesterday, the wife said it was Basillote who told her about the threats when she visited him at the CCPO detention cell. Garma reportedly paid Basillote a visit at the cell.
Basillote is behind bars for alleged possession and sale of illegal drugs.
“Si Garma, ni psywar sa iya na pamatyon mi tanan… if dili i-delete ang video ug kung ipadayon ang kaso (Garma engaged in a psywar… that she would kill us all if we would not delete the video and if we will file charges),” she said.
She requested anonymity for her safety.
The wife said no one influenced her to go public and that she made the decision to do so to plead for Garma not to make true of her threats.
“Ang ako storya ni Garma, dili mi niya ingun anion kay pobre mi, wala mi ikasukol niya. Dili mi niya pamatyon… pobre mi. Tan-awon niya ang video kung unsa sakto. Mao na ako ikastorya ni Garma… ayaw mi hilabti kay pobre ming dako, wala mi ikasukol niya (I call on Garma not to treat us this way because we’re poor, we cannot fight her. Don’t kill us because we are poor. Look at the video to see the truth),” she said.
Garma denied the allegations.
She said she will not put her 24-year career in the Philippine National Police on the line for a small fish like Basillote.
“Diyos ko, ang liit niya… hindi ko itataya ang career para sa kanya. Na-anticipate ko na gagawin nila ito. Dapat kung magsasalita sila may ebidensya (My God, he’s so small for me to put my career on the line. I have anticipated that they will do this but when they make accusations, they should have evidence),” Garma said.
“I-prove niya na nag-threaten ako. Ako, ayoko talaga to sue people pero kung yun ang gusto nila, then let’s sue each other (She should prove that I made the threats. I don’t like suing people but if this is what they want, we can sue each other),” she added.
Garma is eyeing at libel charges against the wife.
While records of the Talamban Police said the buy bust operation against Basillote on April 18 happened in Nasipit, Tamban, the suspect’s family denied a buy bust actually happened.
The incident that was caught on camera reportedly happened at a video gaming shop in Ponce 11, Barangay Carreta and not in Talamban.
It was Basillote’s niece who was manning the shop at that time.
Also requesting anonymity, the niece said the men just barged into the shop by kicking the door open. They then went straight to Basillote who was playing at that time and, while doing so, hitting her and her baby as they were on the way.
This was captured by the closed circuit television camera inside the shop, but both Basillote’s wife and niece denied uploading the CCTV footage online.
Basillote’s wife and niece believe that the men who hit Basillote were policemen because of the way they acted and because of the firearms they were bringing. One of their neighbors also reportedly identified one of the men as a cop.
The wife said they do not intend to go to the Commission on Human Rights, but they will cooperate with any investigation. She also does not plan of asking the help of Mayor Tomas Osmeña.
Osmeña has offered P100,000 for anyone who can identify the cops in the video.
In a Facebook post over the weekend, Osmeña made public several names that he reportedly got from informants.
“15 different texters told me that the team leader in the video is one Police Sergeant Reoven Carmelo Rota, leader of the DEU of Station 8, son of former Mandaue BFP Cresenciano Rota, and resident of Sitio Tayabas, Brgy. Pulangbato,” one of his posts read.
Rota allegedly called his team collectively as “The Punishers”.
The mayor quoted a text message:
“Sir, mao ni Si Police Sargeant Reoven Carmelo Rota aka Rubi. Leader ni sa DEU sa Talamban. Usa ni sa nangulata atong sa nasipit katong grabe kaayo nakabunndak ug siko sa suspect. Deactivated nmana iyang fb account Sir pero if need ka picture uban provide rako.”
The other names his informants reportedly gave him are Tagalog, Magdali, Lagunsad, Tudtud, and Adalim.
Last Saturday, Police Regional Office – 7 Director Debold Sinas announced that eight cops assigned at the Talamban Police Station in Cebu City have been relieved from their posts and will face investigation.
It is unclear if the eight are those Osmeña named publicly.
Sinas said the Regional Internal Affairs Service will conduct the probe. He said the investigation will look into all allegations thrown against the cops.
Garma also assured that charges will be filed against the policemen if evidence warrants.
Basillote’s wife admitted that her husband used to sell drugs but he reportedly stopped when President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in 2016. Basillote reportedly turned to driving habal-habal since then.
One of Duterte’s priorities is his war on drugs, which has left many alleged pushers killed.
The Basillote couple has two children. (FREEMAN)