Another ‘gun grabber’ dead, this time inside Crame
A 50-year-old man charged with the abduction, rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl allegedly shot and killed himself Tuesday night while in police custody at Camp Crame.
Hilario Herrera, a carpenter from Nueva Ecija province, grabbed the gun of one of his custodians and shot himself, according to Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao, director of the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) of the Philippine National Police.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Dumlao said the Internal Affairs Service has started a probe of the incident involving SPO1 Grant Chaluyen and PO3 Felix Parafina, both of the AKG.
The incident happened around 9 p.m. Tuesday at the hallway of the AKG main building, while Chaluyen and Parafina were bringing Herrera back to his cell after undergoing inquest at the Department of Justice.
The handcuffed suspect allegedly managed to grab Parafina’s pistol and shoot himself in the head.
Dumlao said he had directed his men to submit themselves to paraffin tests.
The PNP-AKG director said that since there was a presumption of regularity in favor of his men, he had not relieved them of their posts. “They are doing their job and he (Herrera) was a strong man. He was very tall,” he pointed out.
Last seen with victim
Herrera was first considered a person of interest in the July 19 disappearance of Christina Clare Mielle Medina after witnesses saw and closed circuit TV footage showed him with the child before she went missing. The investigation showed that he had fetched the girl from the San Mariano East Elementary School in Nueva Ecija.
The police tracked him down in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, and invited him for questioning on July 22. Herrera then promised to help find the missing child.
On July 24, Herrera, accompanied by the Puerto Princesa police, was on his way to Manila when the girl’s body was found at an irrigation site in Barangay Niyogan, Jaen, Nueva Ecija. He was detained upon arrival at the AKG office.
Herrera later signed an extrajudicial confession saying he abducted the child and raped her in a cemetery in San Isidro town, before taking her to a hut in Jaen town where he strangled her as she slept.
According to Dumlao, Herrera was convicted of qualified theft in 2006 and served time at Iwahig Penal Colony until he was granted parole in March 2014 for good conduct.
A local family took him in but he was later accused of molesting one of the family members. With no formal charges filed against him, he moved to Nueva Ecija, where another family gave him shelter.
He was again caught molesting a girl and was cast out by the second family. Christina Clare’s parents, who are related to the last family that threw him out, took him in because they needed a carpenter.
“(The girl’s) parents had accepted him. Maybe that’s why he became remorseful,” Dumlao said, offering a reason why Herrera committed suicide.
It was also possible that Herrera was afraid of returning to jail, he said, citing a “ tradition” among convicts of meting out their own brand of punishment to child rapists.
As to suspicions that Herrera was summarily executed inside Camp Crame, Dumlao said: “If we wanted him (Herrera) dead, he would have been disposed of while still in Palawan. We would have simply pushed him into the water and he would have just disappeared. That’s far from our minds.”
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