MANILA, Philippines—The mother of one of the three men slain in an alleged police rubout in Ortigas Center in Pasig City has called on the Supreme Court to act with swiftness on the case, which has been unresolved for over six years now.
Since December last year, the families of the victims Anton Cu-Unjieng, Francis Xavier Manzano, and Brian Anthony Dulay are waiting for the high court to decide on their petition questioning the downgrading of the charges against the accused policemen and the dropping of the case against six police officials.
“For Chief Justice Renato Corona, it’s been six years and we are hoping you will act on this,” Monique Cu-Unjieng La’O, mother of Anton, one of the three suspected members of car theft gang slain by policemen, said facing the cameras at a press briefing in Pasig City recently.
La’O said that while it took five years for the Ombudsman to file a case against the police, she had not yet lost hope that those involved in the death of her son will be duly punished.
But La’O described the justice system as “terribly slow” with reports reaching them that the killers of her son remain active in the police service.
The accused Senior Inspector Hansel Marantan, Insp. Samson Belmonte, Police Officers 3 Rizalito Ramos Jr., Lloyd Soria and Dexter Bernardas were originally scheduled to be arraigned on March 27. But Judge Danilo Buemio of the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 265 deferred it to April 17, heeding the motion of the lawyer of the complainants.
The officers whom the Ombudsman dropped from the case were Chief Superintendent Augusto Angcanan, Insp. Henry Cerdon, and Police Officers 2 Jesus Fermin, Sonny Robrigado, Fernando Rey Gapuz, and Rey Lucena.
“We didn’t get help from the Ombudsman or from anywhere. Hopefully, (the Supreme Court) can help us get the justice my son and his friends deserve,” she said.
The three men were killed while inside a maroon Nissan Exalta along Garnet Street in Ortigas, Pasig City, on Nov. 7, 2005, in what police claimed to be a legitimate encounter with members of the so-called Valle Verde Gang, a group of young car thieves whose families live in the posh Valle Verde Subdivision in Pasig City.
But a video footage taken by a UNTV crew showed the policemen firing at close range upon the victims who were already lying motionless in the car.
In the last week of March, the families of the victims filed a “very urgent motion” to the SC seeking to stop the arraignment of the accused while their petition on the case remains pending.
The lawyer of the families of the victims Jose Manuel Diokno reiterated that once the accused have been arraigned, the future decisions of the high tribunal on the case would be moot and academic.
“Our chances now lie in the Supreme Court,” he said.