NBI agent killed in shoot-out at HQBy Nancy C. Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two employees of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) decided to settle an argument with their service firearms right inside the bureau’s headquarters on Taft Avenue, Manila, at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, leaving one of them dead and the other wounded.
NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas described the occurrence as a “sad incident” which could have been resolved with the intervention of cooler heads.
In an interview, Ruel Bolivar, NBI assistant director for the National Capital Region (NCR), identified the slain agent as Honorato Ocampo, 43, a special investigator assigned to the NBI-NCR office.
Ocampo was brought to Philippine General Hospital where he was declared dead at 2:56 a.m.
His shooter was identified as Oscar Cabebe, one of the bureau’s security personnel who was assigned to the Witness Protection Program (WPP) unit.
Cabebe sustained gunshot wounds in the right leg and left hand and was taken to Manila Medical Center where he remains confined and under the watch of other NBI agents.
Based on a death certificate obtained by the Inquirer, Ocampo died of a lone gunshot wound just above the waist.
Chief Inspector Joey de Ocampo, Manila Police District (MPD) homicide chief, said that the bullet went through the victim’s body.
According to Bolivar, the shooting stemmed from the turnover of a suspect, Albert Villaseca, who was earlier arrested by the slain agent’s team in Imus, Cavite.
Villaseca, who was facing charges of syndicated estafa, has four outstanding warrants of arrest issued by Pasay City Judge Wilhelmina Jorge Wagan.
Bolivar said that based on the accounts of witnesses, Ocampo tried to turn over the suspect to the bureau’s detention facility but a jail guard whom he did not identify refused to take custody of Villaseca as Ocampo’s group did not have the required documents.
Before a suspect can be processed, the team which arrested him should submit an arrest warrant and a medical certificate attesting to his health, he explained.
“When the companion of Ocampo went out to get the documents, Ocampo and Cabebe exchanged heated words that lead to the shooting incident,” Bolivar told reporters.
He said that Cabebe was not even supposed to be at the NBI detention facility because he was assigned at the WPP building.
“He had no authority to be there,” Bolivar stressed.
He added that a charge of homicide would be filed against Cabebe in the city prosecutor’s office.
Initial reports released by the NBI and MPD teams which both conducted their own investigation into the incident contained conflicting accounts on how the victim was shot.
Bolivar, who heads the NBI investigation, said that based on the accounts of witnesses, Ocampo was shot by Cabebe at a distance of at least three meters.
The police report, however, said that the agent was shot at close range, based on the “smudging on the gunshot wound.”
It also said that Cabebe and Ocampo wrestled with each other before Cabebe “parried the firearm of Ocampo and shot him.” The statement was based on the testimony given by Cabebe.
This was disputed, however, in the NBI report which stated that the two did not square off before they shot each other.
The MPD, meanwhile, said that it was backing off from the case in deference to a request made by the victim’s widow. In particular, she had asked that the NBI, not the police, be the one to conduct an investigation of her husband’s killing.
“We will still conduct an investigation but it will be for our records to respect the wishes of the widow of the victim,” De Ocampo said.
Under the law, however, the MPD has jurisdiction over the case, he added.