By Chito Chavez
Fearing a whitewash, the camp of the victims in the “mis-encounter” on Shaw Blvd. involving the Mandaluyong City police and barangay tanods (village security officers) had sought refuge from the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
The case of mistaken identity ended with two dead and two others injured and the side of the victims are wondering why only homicide charges were filed by police investigators instead of the non-bailable offense of murder.
Relatives of the victims are crying for justice, frustrated that the perpetrators were set free after posting bail.
The victims’ side claimed there was an obvious attempt by the police investigators to protect their colleagues with the filing of homicide cases instead of the non-bailable murder charges.
Granting that the shooting was not premeditated, the relatives and the injured victims also questioned the police officers’ use of undue and extreme force on them since they were unarmed.
Lawyer Rogelio Casurao, Napolcom vice-chairman and CEO, admitted there was an overkill when the police officers rained bullets at the vehicle carrying a female victim of a prior shooting incident in Bgy. Additional Hills.
On December 28 last year, the police officers with the village guards in tow opened fire at a white Mitsubishi Adventure on Shaw Blvd. thinking the vehicle was a getaway car of a gunman when it was, in fact, transporting Jonalyn Amba-an to a nearby hospital. Amba-an was shot while trying to mediate in an altercation involving her live-in partner Eliseo Aluad.
Also killed in the shooting incident on Shaw Blvd. was a construction worker Jomar Hayawon while Aluad and Danilo Santiago, who was driving the vehicle, suffered gunshot wounds.
While in bed at the hospital, Santiago said he would have traded shots with the police if he was armed, saying that it would have at least even up the score if he gets to kill one of the police officers.
Earlier, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said there was a lapse in operational procedure in the fatal shooting incident.
Superintendent Kimberly Molitas, NCRPO spokesperson said, based on the info they gathered, the incident was an overkill; the 36 spent shells recovered from the scene without any retaliation coming from the vehicle’s occupants was simply too much.
“Our regional director already said that there really is, in fact, a lapse sa ating standard operating procedure. The police opened fire first. If there was no active shooter–no one was firing back at them–they should have stopped right away,” Molitas said.
She noted that the absence of any imminent danger or any active shooter made the lapse more glaring for the cops.
The mishap bared a deficiency in the police officers’ training, especially on their “judgment call. With all the training, with all the skills that we provide for our police officers, at the end of the day, there will always be the use of our common sense, na kailangan talaga na on situations like this,” she added.
The 10 police officers tagged in the shooting are Senior Inspector Maria Cristina Vasquez, Police Officer 2 Nel Songalia, PO 1 Jave Arellano, PO1 Tito Danao, PO1 Bryan Nicolas, PO1 Julius Libuyen, PO1 Mark Castillo, PO1 Alberto Buag, PO1 Kim Tinbusay, and PO1 Alfred Urbe.
Village watchmen Wilmer Duron, Ernesto Fajardo and Gilbert Gulpo were also allegedly involved.
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