Duterte advises cabbie to counter charges

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Friday, June 13, 2014

DAVAO CITY Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday advised the taxi driver accused of spraying chemical through his air-conditioned vent and robbing his passenger to file countercharges against the complainant if he really didn't commit the crime.

The city mayor issued the statement amid appeals from relatives and colleagues of the accused who has been a taxi driver for 19 years now.

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Santos Descallar Diez, 53, of Barangay Tigatto in Buhangin, was charged with robbery based on the complaint filed by the victim Jesus Famacion Dizon II, 39, a pastor and resident of Central Park in Bangkal.

Duterte, after meeting the complainant at the Marco Polo Hotel on Wednesday evening, explained authorities were just doing their job when they arrested and detained the accused as there has been a complaint filed against him.

"It will be up to the court to determine who is telling the truth," Duterte said.

Retired General Francisco Villaroman, Public Safety Command Center head, earlier posted on their official Facebook page that a "tracker team" was created by the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) led by Sr. Supt. Vicente D. Danao, to look into all angles of the case, including the suspicion that the accusation against the taxi driver was trumped-up.

Villaroman called for a deeper investigation after authorities admitted that there is no strong evidence presented by the complainant against the accused. It was also learned that last Saturday's incident was the second time that happened to Dizon, as he had been robbed in Cebu City back in September 2006.

Danao, on the other hand, vowed to conduct further investigation on the matter. He also ensured a fair investigation on the case, adding that the police will leave the decision to the court on whoever is telling the truth.

Personnel of the Talomo police brought the suspect before Prosecutor Panfilo Junior R. Lovitos around 9 a.m. Tuesday for inquest proceedings after he was arrested.

Dizon, in his sworn statement, said that when he arrived at Davao City International Airport at 8 p.m. from Manila Saturday evening, he boarded a Krizia taxi with plate number LXE-374. He positively identified Diez as the driver of the taxi.

"When I woke up, I was surprised to find myself lying in a muddy and grassy portion on a road and unfamiliar place, that my eyesight was already blurred and my eyes were swollen. I noticed that my personal belongings were missing," Dizon said.

Dizon said he could not find his white gold wedding ring worth P7,500; messenger bag worth P1,500; brown Rusty Lopez shoes worth P2,000; brown belt worth P800; eyeglass worth P7,000; one polo shirt, gray t-shirt and brief, all worth P2,000; and Samsung phone worth P10,000, among others.

Diez, however, denied the accusation hurled against him by Dizon. He said he did not steal anything from the complainant. He added that he dropped Dizon at a lotto outlet in Buhangin area and returned to the airport to pick up more passengers, as there was another flight arriving.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 13, 2014.

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