GENERAL SANTOS CITY—The city council vowed there would be no whitewash in the investigation of the shooting of a student mistaken for a car theft suspect by police here.
Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., chair of the council’s committee on peace and order, told the Inquirer that he would personally monitor the progress of the investigation against PO2 Arnold Sua, PO2 Ariel Beldera, PO1 Roger Dequito and PO1 John Rey Daligdig.
Gacal confirmed that Chief Supt. Charles Calima, Central Mindanao police director, had put the four policemen under restrictive custody since Thursday.
The policemen, said Gacal, have been tested for drugs and gun firing.
Gacal added that in a meeting with local police officials on Friday, he was informed that the result of the paraffin tests on four policemen turned out positive.
“One of them turned out positive for drug use,” Gacal said.
Randy Quirante, a third year criminology student at Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges (RMMC) here, was on his way home to Alabel, Sarangani, on Wednesday evening with his classmate and best friend, John Rey Lapuz, when they were chased by a police patrol car along the national highway.
Lapuz stopped, but Quirante sped away, as he feared getting caught driving a motorcycle with just a student license.
He was chased and shot by the policemen on suspicion that he was a car thief.
The shooting took place several minutes after a certain Karen Monteza reported to the Lagao police station that her motorcycle was taken forcibly by two unidentified men.
Quirante, also a Sangguniang Kabataan councilor in Barangay Spring, Alabel, suffered a gunshot wound in the back and was declared dead on arrival in one of the private hospitals here.
The shooting sparked public condemnation and outrage, especially after Lapuz issued a statement to media that he and the victim were talking while traversing the national highway in Barangay Baluan aboard their motorcycles.
Forensics investigators recovered from the crime scene bullet casings for Armalite rifles and
9 mm pistols.
On Friday evening, RMMC faculty and students here staged a candle lighting ceremony to pray and demand justice for Quirante.
The family of the victim also sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation in filing criminal and administrative charges against the four policemen.
Carlito Rodaje, medico legal officer of the NBI in the area, told reporters it was possible that a 9 mm pistol was used in the shooting.
Rodaje conducted an autopsy on the victim on Friday.
Gacal vowed that the city council would conduct its own investigation if councilors are not satisfied with the investigation results of the police.
Gacal disclosed that eight-division boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao had pledged to help the family of the victim get justice.
Gacal claimed that the four policemen were directed by the police regional director to undergo a three-week retraining on gun proficiency and police operational procedures. Aquiles Z. Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao