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Former cop cleared in wife’s 2004 killing

Justice (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

A Quezon City court acquitted a former policeman who was accused of killing his wife using his service firearm on Feb. 18, 2004, citing the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt.

The decision that cleared former Police Officer 1 Dante Reyes of parricide charges came nearly 14 years after Khristine Agbayani-Reyes sustained a lone gunshot wound in the forehead, killing her instantly.

Lack of eyewitnesses

In a ruling on Jan. 29, Assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 said Reyes should be acquitted due to the failure of the prosecution to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

“The accused’s denial may be weak but with the improbabilities and uncertainties of the prosecution’s evidence, his denial deserves merit,” the ruling read.

Agbada cited in the decision the lack of eyewitnesses to the supposed crime.

The ruling also cited the testimony of Dr. Paul Ed Ortiz, the medicolegal officer from the Philippine National Police’s Crime Laboratory who conducted the postmortem examination on the victim.

‘Self-inflicted’ wound

Khristine, a 27-year-old nurse and mother of two children, sustained a lone gunshot wound between her eyebrows.

The gun used was Reyes’ service firearm, a 9-mm Petro Barretta pistol.

Ortiz told the court that the wound could have been “self-inflicted” due to the “accessibility of both hands to the point of entry.”

“The gunshot wound on the forehead may be unusual for suicide but it is possible,” Agbada said.

Paraffin test

Reyes, then 29, also tested negative in the paraffin test for the presence of gunpowder nitrates in his hands.

The victim also tested negative in the same test, but the court said the prosecution failed to rebut Reyes’ claims that her wound was cleaned at the hospital.

On an early morning in February 2004, Reyes—a police officer then assigned at Baler Police Station of Central Police District—reportedly heard a loud thud and found his wife bloodied and dead inside their room at their house along West Riverside Street in Barangay San Francisco del Monte.

Reyes reportedly brought her to Saint Agnes Hospital and then informed his wife’s mother that she had committed suicide.

Financial problems

Court records showed that Khristine’s mother, however, refused to believe that her daughter took her own life, saying that she did not know how to use a gun. She also told authorities that the couple then had financial problems.

After the Office of the City Prosecutor resolved to charge Reyes of parricide in 2005, he fled and went into hiding.

The case was archived until he was finally arrested and jailed on Nov. 16, 2016.

On May 31, 2017, however, Reyes was allowed to post bail of P40,000 after the court ruled that the prosecution’s evidence of his guilt was not strong.

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