By Mar S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY, 28-April-2013 – A Philippine Army officer is facing criminal charges filed on Thursday at the City Prosecutors office here by two women he had allegedly molested, a Philippine National Police (PNP) official said Friday.
Facing charges of committing acts of lasciviousness, unjust vexation, alarm and scandal, and grave threats is Army 1Lt. Juniedy Omandam, platoon leader of the Disaster Response Operation Unit of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, in Pili, Camarines Sur, according to Supt. Renato Bataller, PNP Bicol spokesperson.
Bataller, in an interview, said the criminal complaints were filed Thursday by the victims identified as Melanie Kristine Lorejo, 21, of Barangay Kimantong, Daraga, Albay, and Joyce Valenzuela, 25, of Pilar, Sorsogon.
The victims claimed that on Tuesday evening, the suspect and 16 companions were drinking at the Chick n’ Bar at the Capitol Annex Bldg, here when he suddenly approached them.
The victims told the police that they were subjected to indecent proposals, physical contacts with sexual undertones and mistaken for prostitutes by the suspect who, they said, appeared to be drunk.
Bataller said that aside from the complaints of the victims, the Legazpi City Police Office is also preparing charges of direct assault on a person in authority, resisting arrest and disobedience to an officer of the law against the suspect.
Police Officer 2 Alex Escoto the desk officer of the City Police Assistance Center (CPAC) 2 in Albay District said Omandam, in a show of force together with 10 Army soldiers in full battle gear on board three military trucks, swooped down the police assistance center at around 2:30 a.m., Wednesday and disarmed one of the police officers on duty.
Quoting police report, Bataller said the suspect arrogantly confronted and threatened the police desk officer to a firefight.
Last year, Omandam was involved in a verbal tussle with Mayor Robert Fernandez of Panganiban, Catanduanes, and at the height of the argument, reportedly slapped the town executive.
Along this, 11 members of the Catanduanes Mayors’ League signed a manifesto for the commanding officer of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, calling for Omandam’s immediate relief and declaring him a persona non grata.
Omandam was relieved, sent back to the 9th ID and was assigned at the Disaster Response Operation Unit.
He was arrested by Army Military Police on Friday and is now under PNP custody at the 9th ID after going on AWOL (absence without official leave) on Thursday.(PNA)