QCPD eyes robbery, personal grudge in ‘NDFP consultant’ slay
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) is looking at the angle of robbery and personal grudge as possible motives behind the killing of a man whom activists say was a National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant.
Aside from the motive, QCPD director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo also said on Monday that investigators are trying to ascertain the true identity of the victims earlier found dead in Novaliches. They were initially identified by the police as Manuel Santiago and Louie Tagapia.
This runs contrary to claims by former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao that the victim was NDFP consultant and peasant leader Randy Echais, although Montejo said nothing is for sure now and anyone is welcome to help in their investigation.
Currently, officers are looking at the motives especially since it was discovered that the second victim, Tagapia, has a tattoo of the Sputnik Gang.
“Lahat kasi iko-consider natin na motibo, maaaring robbery, akyat-bahay […] tapos siguro no’ng nagising, hindi natin alam kung ano ang nangyari, nanlaban, so baka sinaksak, gano’n. Kasi usually sa nalaman natin, ‘yong mga previous na incident na kahalintulad no’n, nagising, nanlaban, talagang sinasaksak,” Montejo said.
(All motives are being considered, this may be robbery, where robbers intrude the house. And then maybe when he woke up, we do not know what happened, but maybe he fought back and he was stabbed. Because according to our information, previous incidents like this, victims who woke up and fought back were being stabbed.)
“Another angle na tinitignan natin […] baka personal grudge, kasi ‘yong isa may tattoo ng Sputnik Gang, alam naman natin ‘yong mga gang na ano, meron din silang kakumpitensya o kalaban kaya ‘yon ang mga tinitignan natin sa ngayon,” he added.
(Another angle that we are looking at is personal grudge, because one of the victims had the tattoo of the Sputnik Gang, we know that these gangs have rivalries or enemies. So that’s what we’re looking at now.)
The QCPD chief explained that they identified the victim as Manuel Santiago — and not Echais as the activist groups say — because the identification cards found in the area with Santiago’s name resemble the victim.
In addition to that, Montejo also disclosed that the landlord of the unit where Santiago was renting claimed the victim identified himself as Manuel Santiago.
“Ito kasi ‘yong report na binigay sa atin ng investigation unit natin, kung saan may narecover sila na identification, at ‘yong identification card meron namang picture, ito rin po ay hawig din doon sa victim na Manuel Santiago. At ayon din do’n sa may-ari ng bahay na inuupahan nila, ‘yon din ang pakilala sa kanya,” he said.
(According to the report given by our investigation unit, they recovered identification cards (labeled Manuel Santiago) with photos, and this resembled the victim Manuel Santiago. And the owner of the house they are renting also said that the victim introduced himself as Manuel Santiago.)
“Sa ngayon, unless otherwise merong proof kung ano ‘yong sinasabi nila na pangalan, siguro manindigan tayo na si Manuel Santiago kasi ito naman ‘yong kakilala,” he added. “Welcome po lahat kung sino ‘yong gustong lumapit sa atin at magpapatunay na magbigay ng katibayan.”
(As of now, unless otherwise there is proof about the name they are calling him, we would insist that he is Manuel Santiago because it is the name he used. Anyone who wants to help is welcome.)
Earlier, Anakpawis and other activist groups condemned the killing of Echais in his rented house in Novaliches. Casilao claimed that the victim, supposedly a peasant leader, was undergoing medical treatment when police officers raided him and killed him.
But in the version of QCPD, a certain witness who lives in the same apartment at Barangay Novaliches Proper heard noises coming from Santiago’s room, and found the victims’ bodies lying on the floor. Police supposedly arrived at the scene, only after the apartment owner reported the incident.
Montejo said that he does not know Echais and that the NDFP consultant was not under monitoring. He also asked parties not to instantly accuse the police of being behind the death of Echais, or Santiago.
“Hindi siguro magandang accusation ‘yong ganun, hangga’t maaari siguro dapat meron tayong matibay na katibayan na ipakita, ebidensya. Paki-usap ko rin po siguro hangga’t wala tayong ebidensya, pag-ingatan natin ‘yong pagparatang sa kapulisan,” Montejo said.
(It is not good to accuse us of that, because as much as possible we should have a strong evidence to back up our claims. We ask people that as long as they do not have any evidence, please take extra care in accusing the police of wrongdoing.)
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