What Went Before: The Parañaque shootoutPhilippine Daily Inquirer
In March 2010, the Department of Justice ordered the filing of murder charges against 25 policemen involved in a shootout with suspected robbers in Parañaque City in December 2008.
State Prosecutor Stewart Allan Mariano found probable cause to indict the policemen for the deaths of Alfonso de Vera, 53, and daughter Lia Allana, 7, who were among the civilians killed during the shootout.
No bail was recommended for Superintendent Jonathan Calixto; Chief Inspector Hermogenes Cabe; Senior Inspector Abraham Abayari; Inspectors Erikson Roranes and Ludivico Cordova; Police Officers 3 Hagar Torres, Jericho Otadoy, Guilbert Lopez, Felix Base, Eugene Papat-ew and Policarpio Jose Jr.; and Police Officers 1 James Yodong, Allan Apil, Efren Angcuan, Lloyd Bulayungan, Nemesio Gano and Sherwin Maybanting.
All belong to the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF).
Also charged were Chief Inspectors Lawrence Cajipe and Joel Mendoza; Inspector Gerardo Balatucan; Police Officers 3 Jolito Mamanao Jr. and Fernando Rey Gapuz; Police Officers 2 Eduardo Blanco and Edwin Santos; and Police Officer 1 Josil Rey Lucena, all belonging to the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) Task Force Limbas.
Then Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil, who headed the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), described the encounter as the “bloodiest fire fight between the police and criminal elements in Metro Manila.”
Witnesses said the De Veras were killed by agents who apparently mistook their Isuzu Crosswind SUV for one of the getaway cars of the robbers. Initial findings showed that about 80 bullets hit the De Veras and their vehicle.
The other civilians killed were Skyway employee Ronaldo Eusebio, Jessiery Basmayor, Arnel Macalawan and Bernard Tungcab.
On Dec. 5, 2008, suspected members of the Waray-Waray and Ozamiz gangs engaged policemen in a shootout at a subdivision in Parañaque City. At the end of the
40-minute gun battle, 16 people lay dead, including 10 alleged robbers and six civilians.
Officers from the HPG, SAF, NCRPO and Southern Police District were sent to United Parañaque Subdivision 4 following a tip that a warehouse of Southern Transport Co. in the subdivision would be robbed.
On Dec. 11, 2008, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) said the PNP violated the rules of engagement when it failed to install blockades that would have protected civilians from an anticipated shootout.
The Napolcom also noted there was no ambulance on standby to attend to those who would be hurt.
On Feb. 17, 2009, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which was conducting a separate probe, threatened to cite in contempt 33 HPG officers for failing to attend a public hearing on the shootout.
Two days later, the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) charged nine HPG officers with grave misconduct and neglect of duty, and eight others with dishonesty for giving false testimony.
PO1 Elybeer Cabayan was charged with grave misconduct and dishonesty after it was discovered that a bullet recovered near the older De Vera’s head was fired from Cabayan’s .45 cal. pistol.
Cabayan had told the IAS that he was 2 kilometers away from De Vera’s vehicle at the time of the shootout.
On April 3, 2009, the policemen charged by the IAS appeared at a CHR public hearing but invoked their right to remain silent.
In a resolution dated Jan. 5, 2010, the CHR found that police officers committed multiple violations of human rights in the shootout and recommended the filing of charges against several police officers.
It said “basic rights were ignored” on the night of Dec. 5, 2008, “not because the civilians in the area were mistaken for criminals by the police” but because “they were presumed to be criminals.” Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives