Drug war deals 2nd blow to Pasay family
In less than a year, Rachelle Bermoy lost two loved ones—her live-in partner and her uncle—in antidrug operations by the Pasay City police, who maintained that both men were pistol-wielding drug users who were killed because they fired first at arresting officers.
But family members and neighbors insisted that Rachelle’s partner Eric Sison was just a 22-year-old pedicab driver while her uncle Reynaldo Bermoy was considered mentally challenged and “couldn’t even use a knife properly.”
The 45-year-old Reynaldo Bermoy was one of the two men killed on Wednesday night when the police raided a house on F. Munoz Street, Barangay 43.
He and Vilmar Gaton, a 24-year-old jeepney terminal barker, were reportedly caught having a “shabu” session with three other suspects.
Supt. Deanry Francisco, the assistant chief for operations of the Pasay police, said the two men opened fire on the raiding team led by Senior Insp. Maynard Pascual and Chief Insp. Casan Ali.
A third suspect identified as Zaldy Quiban, 45, of Norzagaray, Bulacan, was arrested while two others escaped.
1st death anniversary
The police said two pistols—a .22-caliber and .38-caliber—were recovered from the slain Bermoy and Gaton, along with three sachets of shabu and drug paraphernalia.
Bermoy was killed just days shy of the first death anniversary of Sison, who was shot 14 times by members of the Pasay police, who had him cornered in a house on Aug. 23, 2016.
One of Sison’s neighbors in Barangay 43 then managed to take a one-minute video of the operation, where a woman could be heard pleading with the police to stop shooting.
Later, a man believed to be Sison was also heard shouting his intention to surrender—but he was cut off by gunshots.
Like in the case of Bermoy, the Pasay police said Sison fired at the officers using a .38-caliber revolver.
Rachelle, Sison’s live-in partner, asked the Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the three officers involved in the operation, namely PO1 Benigno Baladjay, PO1 Jan Erwin Isaac and PO1 Melford Olorosisimo, all from the Buendia precinct.
The three officers were relieved of their posts shortly after the incident. The Inquirer learned on Friday that they had been reporting to the Southern Police District’s holding unit.
In May this year, the NBI filed murder complaints against them as it noted that the revolver and drugs supposedly recovered from Sison “were part and parcel of (their) plot to justify their drug operation.”
NBI: Gun planted
According to the NBI, “they just planted the revolver on the hands of the lifeless victim … and fired the same to leave gunpowder residue on (his) hands.”
Like Sison’s, Bermoy’s wake was held in a small chapel in Barangay 43, where family and friends made offerings of beer—“the only thing he was addicted to.”
They all disputed police pronouncements that he was hooked on drugs, saying the person in the casket was “a jolly man-child (malaking bata)” who was loved by all.
In an interview on Thursday, his nephew Beejay said it was impossible for his uncle to be keeping a gun because he was “quite slow and couldn’t even use a knife properly. He would just cry whenever bullied.”
“What’s worse is that we lost Kuya Eric just about a year ago. Now we’re having another wake here because of what the police did,” the 19-year-old said.
After Sison’s killing, Beejay stopped his criminology studies, having lost trust in the police. Rachelle, his sister, had since moved out of Pasay together with her children as they feared for their lives.
Asked if the family intends to sue the Pasay police again, this time over Bermoy’s death, Reynaldo’s elder sister Bella said, “We want justice for him, too, but nobody wants to testify for us; everyone’s afraid of retaliation.”
“They’re powerful. What can we do?” Bella sighed. “We’ll just leave everything to God and hope they still have a conscience.”
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