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40 Rizal cops sued over slay of 3-yr-old

Myca Ulpina’s mother hopes she would be the last victim of the drug war

DRUG WAR CASUALTY Leejay Acopio sprinkles holy water on the coffin of her 3-year-old daughter, Myca Ulpina, who was killed in a police operation that targeted the girl’s father in Rodriguez, Rizal, on June 29. —AP

The police chief of Rodriguez, Rizal, and 39 others are facing charges of murder and obstruction of justice over the June 29 killing of 3-year-old Myca Ulpina in the government’s antidrug war.

“I hope Myca is the last victim of this drug war. She was only 3 years old, she was very young,” Ulpiana’s mother, who used the alias “Tess” for her own security, told reporters.

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Tess filed charges of murder against Lt. Col. Resty Damaso, chief of the Rodriguez town police, and 13 of his men; and Lt. Col. Noel Campos, chief of the Rizal provincial police’s Intelligence Branch, and six of his men, in the Office of the Ombudsman.

She also filed separate charges of obstruction of justice against 19 other police officers from the Rodriguez municipal station, Police Regional Office 4-A Scene of the Crime Operations, Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division, and Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service.

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Myca was killed with a bullet to her neck while policemen were chasing her father, Renato, following a failed drug bust in Rodriguez on June 29.

Renato and an unidentified suspect reportedly opened fire at the policemen after recognizing the buyer as a government agent.

‘Shit happens’

While fleeing, Renato picked up Myca, who was then hit by a bullet. She died in the hospital the next day.  Renato, his alleged cohort Enrique Cawilig and a police officer were also killed in the operation.

Former PNP chief and now Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa then remarked that while Myca’s death was unfortunate, “shit happens.”

Lawyer Katherine Panguban of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, who accompanied Myca’s mother at the Ombudsman, said the filing of obstruction of justice charges had been prompted by police claims after Myca’s killing.

Human shield

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“They came up with a report saying Myca’s death was a case of homicide, since she allegedly was used as a human shield,” she said.

Panguban also pointed to the lapses in the gathering of evidence gathering that may have resulted in a police coverup,

All 40 police officers also faced administrative charges of grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority, and conduct unbecoming of a public official.

Drug personalities killed in antidrug operations between July 2016 and June 2019 reached 5,526, according to the government’s “validated” TheRealNumbersPH.

The PNP, however, reported a higher number of 6,600 deaths in police drug operations. Human rights groups estimated the deaths at more than 25,000.

The higher number of deaths, reports said, were “unofficial data” of the PNP and had not been verified with  Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

—WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH

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TAGS: Lt. Col. Resty Damaso, Myca Ulpina, Office of the Ombudsman, Rizal, Rodriguez
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