PNP: Reports on teen’s death in Laguna drug ops ‘hearsay’ until witnesses come forward
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday said that until witnesses come forward to authorities, reports of the boy in Laguna being “handcuffed face down” as he was shot remain “hearsay.”
Eleazar said this after relatives of 16-year-old Johndy Maglinte and Antonio Castillo Dalit, who both died after an anti-drug operation in Laguna, claimed that Maglinte was shot as he was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground after he witnessed Dalit’s death.
“May sinasabi na nakadapa daw, may posas, wala naman tayong ebidensiyang ganun. ‘Yun ay narinig lamang sa reporter. Ang reporter naman, ‘di umano,’ puro ganun naman tayo, puro hearsay lahat yun,” said Eleazar in an interview over TeleRadyo.
(Some say that he was handcuffed face down, but we don’t have evidence of that. We just heard it from reporters who repeatedly say “allegedly”. It’s all pure hearsay.)
“In the court of law, or even in the conduct of our administrative investigation, hindi puwede (that’s unacceptable), otherwise we can just claim anybody doing that. At ‘yun ang pagbabasihan natin (and that’s what we’re basing it on),” he added.
Eleazar then called on witnesses to cooperate with investigators, explaining that the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) also relies on information from witnesses.
“Kasi nga ang report ng IAS sa’tin, they went immediately to the possible witnesses eh ang sagot naman ay hindi pa sila handa magbigay ng statement, eh anong gagawin natin dun?” he added.
(The IAS told us that they went immediately to the possible witnesses; however, all they said is that they are not ready to give a statement yet. What are we going to do about that?)
He warned that if witnesses withhold the information from the IAS, it will just be another case where the IAS won’t have anything for their investigation.
On Saturday the PNP already announced that it has now placed 10 Laguna cops under restrictive custody, adding that it has also started probing the cops involved.
Police earlier claimed that Maglinte and Dalit fought back while police officers were serving an arrest warrant on Dalit on Wednesday.
Relatives, however, said otherwise and that Dalit was killed first before Maglinte, who was then killed after he witnessed the former’s death.
Meanwhile, the Commission of Human Rights also started its own investigation on the said incident.
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