No ‘agawan ng baril:’ Witness claims death of teen in Valenzuela ‘accidental’
MANILA, Philippines — The teenager who was killed by a police officer in Valenzuela was not in a gun scuffle with him, the city mayor said Thursday, contrary to what the police initially reported.
Mayor Rex Gatchalian, however, said that the witness to the shooting of 18-year-old Edwin Cabantugan Arnigo, who was a person with autism, claimed that the incident was “accidental” due to the “reaction of the officer after the shooting.”
Earlier, Valenzuela City police chief Col. Ramchrisen Haveria Jr. said that the police who allegedly shot Arnigo—Police Senior Master Sergeant Christopher Salcedo— claimed that his “attention was divided.”
“This witness is the individual who was also apprehended by the said policeman at the time Edwin was apprehended and shot,” he said in a statement. “In short, he said there was no scuffle between the victim and the policeman. No agawan ng baril (gun tussle).”
“He is very adamant in saying that though the account he saw is different from the account of the policemen involved; he knows it was accidental bec[ause] he saw the reaction of the Officer after the shooting,” Gatchalian added.
Gatchalian also noted that the witness was “literally less than an arm’s length away” when the incident happened.
The witness also said that the incident did not happen at the “tupada” (illegal cockfighting) site but “a few meters away,” contrary to previous reports, the mayor added.
Gatchalian said the witness has given the statement to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The PNP has started its own internal probe, but the victim’s mother requested the NBI to conduct their own investigation, saying she “lost confidence in the police.”