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Cops harassing me, says EJK case filer

Woman who lost son claims husband’s arrest meant to pressure her into dropping case against 15 Batasan policemen

The husband of a woman who sued 15 Batasan policemen for the death of their teenage son in an alleged drug operation in 2016 has been arrested on what his family claims was a trumped-up drug charge meant to pressure them into dropping the case.

Mariza Hamoy’s husband, Danilo, was caught with four other men in a “video karera” shop on Everlasting Street at Barangay Payatas, Quezon City, around 12 noon on Saturday.

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According to the Batasan police which conducted the operation, Danilo yielded two sachets of “shabu” (crystal meth).

He and another suspect, Iglecerio Villarente, were charged with gambling and drug possession.

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His arrest came after Hamoy filed an affidavit in the Office of the Ombudman on July 13, asserting that she would not be withdrawing the murder complaint she filed against 15 Batasan policemen for the death of five men, including her son, Darwin, on Aug. 17, 2016.

Obvious motive

“It’s obvious what they are trying to do. They are mad that I decided to pursue the case,” Hamoy said, adding that her husband’s arrest was meant to put pressure on her and her family.

The couple’s daughter, Doris, told the Inquirer that her father was indeed gambling inside the shop but the drugs supposedly found in his possession had been planted.

According to her father, shortly before the police barged in, two men ran into the shop and threw the sachets in his direction.

“He was just playing because he has no job and thought he could earn a little money to bring home to us,” Doris said. “He just recovered from a sickness. [We’re] sure [the police] are just trying to get even with us,” Doris said.

Seventeen-year-old Darwin was killed with Cherwen Polo, William Bordeos, Sherwin Ternal, and a certain “Rambo,” in an alleged drug bust after they supposedly resisted. There was only one survivor, Harold Arevalo, who was charged by the police with direct assault.

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Considered one of the earliest cases of extrajudicial killings in President Duterte’s war on drugs, the operation conducted by Batasan policemen became controversial after Arevalo testified in court that no drug transaction took place.

Birthday party

Arevalo said that he and the victims were in a house celebrating Polo’s birthday when the police barged in and started shooting.

Hamoy said her son was just buying cigarettes that night for Bordeos. An autopsy showed that Darwin was shot in the lungs which, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said, showed the police’s intent to kill.

Several other questions were also raised such as Darwin’s sudden inclusion on the police watch list and being listed as an 18-year-old.

A month after the incident, Hamoy and the wives of two of the victims, Kathrina Polo and Marlyn Bordeos, sued the 15 Batasan policemen who conducted the operation.

But two years later, the case has yet to prosper in the Office of the Ombudsman.

Arevalo, who was acquitted by a Quezon City court of the direct assault charges, has refused to file a case against the police.

On May 23, Kathrina and Marlyn filed a motion to withdraw from the complaint, saying they were “no longer interested in pursuing the case…[which was] borne out of misunderstanding and misapprehension of facts.”

On June 12, Kathrina, who was also the sole eyewitness in the case, filed an affidavit of desistance, claiming her husband indeed fought it out with police.

She added that the events she had narrated in her affidavit were “false.”

In an interview, Batasan police station deputy commander, Chief Insp. Sandie Caparroso, denied the Hamoys’ claims.
Chance operation

“It’s easy for them to say that. That may be possible if this was a planned operation, like a buy-bust. But this operation was purely by chance,” he said.

Caparroso, who assumed his post in late 2016, said that his men merely responded to complaints that the video karera shop was a drug den. Danilo, he added, had been on their watchlist since August 2017.

Hamoy admitted that her husband was indeed a drug user but said he stopped after Darwin died.

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