CA affirms dismissal of police officers in 2012 ‘rub out’ case
MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) stood by its decision to dismiss from service Abra’s former police director and another policeman following a finding that the death of five suspected guns-for-hire in May 2012 was a rub out, not a shootout.
In a three-page resolution, the Appeals Court’s Special Former 12th Division dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by former Abra police director Alexander Rafael and policeman Marino Manuel and affirmed its January 2018 ruling that the dismissal by the Office of the Ombudsman was valid.
The two had been charged for the death of Michael Bermudez, Nomer Biendima, Leonardo Apolinario Jr., Isabelo George Bernal II, and Daniel Villamor.
Rafael maintained that the five were killed in a legitimate police operation along Maharlika Highway in Barangay San Lorenzo in Lallo town in Cagayan in 2012.
He said they were forced to fire back at the suspects who refused to stop after their vehicle was flagged down.
The Court, however, affirmed the Ombudsman’s findings that they were guilty of grave misconduct.
“The autopsy reports of the bodies of Michael Bermudez, Nomer Biendima, Isabelo George Bernal II, Leonardo Apolinario, Jr., and Daniel Villamor revealed tattooing and shrapnel injuries suggesting that they were shot at close range – another fact consistent with the theory of rub-out instead of a shootout,” the Court said.
Rafael and Manuel are facing separate cases for murder. The Court, however, did not identify the other police officers implicated in the case.
“After careful consideration of the motion, we find that the arguments raised therein are not novel and a mere rehash of the issues and arguments presented in their previous pleadings, which we have adequately passed upon in our decision dated January 5, 2018,” the Court said.
The ruling was written by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz. /ee/ac
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