13 more cops suspended for slay of Navotas teen
Thirteen more police officers in Navotas City have been recommended for suspension in connection with the killing of a teenager last month in a case of mistaken identity.
Meanwhile, eight other officers already dismissed because of the same case were cited for another set of offenses.
Police Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr., director of the National Capital Region Police Office, has already received a resolution handed down by the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) directing him to implement the sanctions, Philippine National Police spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said at a press briefing on Friday.
The IAS recommended the suspension of Executive Master Sergeant Jose Elizalde Oriendo; Staff Sergeants Rondell Sauza, Johnvir Tagacay, Melvin Napay, Mervin Villanueva, Rolan Orbita, Kenneth Amangan, Jorge Boco Jr. and Ever Layco; and Corporals Aldrin Pascual and Mark Joseph Quillan.
The 11 were found to have violated the 2021 Revised PNP Police Operational Procedure, particularly on the use of lethal force, during their pursuit operation against a murder suspect on Aug. 2. They were looking for Reynaldo Bolivar but ended up killing 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar, whom they mistook for the suspect. More dismissals
The remaining two officers in the group, Capt. Juanito Arabejo Jr. and Chief Master Sergeant Aurelito Galvez, were found guilty of neglect of duty for failing to subject the other concerned officers to a paraffin test. Arabejo heads the investigation section of the Navotas police while Galvez is his subordinate.
Tagacay was also recommended for further suspension lasting 59 days for failing to turn on his body camera during the manhunt for Bolivar.
The IAS again recommended the dismissal of Captains Mark Joseph Carpio and Luisito de la Cruz; EM/Sgt. Roberto Balais Jr.; Staff Sergeants Gerry Maliban, Antonio Bugayong Jr. and Nikko Pines Esquillon; Cpl. Edmard Jake Blanco; and Pvt. Benedict Mangada, after they were found guilty of grave misconduct for abandoning Baltazar after the teenager was shot.
They were also cited for neglect of duty for failing to secure the crime scene. For this they were suspended also for 59 days.
Carpio was also recommended for dismissal due to dishonesty after he allegedly forged the report on Baltazar’s death.
The IAS earlier recommended the dismissal of the eight officers, which Nartatez approved. The investigation found them liable for grave irregularities and neglect of duty, and for conduct unbecoming of police officers.
The officers have appealed their dismissal in connection with these findings.
Pending Marcos’ approval
As for the IAS precharge investigation of Col. Allan Umipig, the sacked Navotas police chief, Fajardo said it would proceed only upon the approval of President Marcos.
“The summary hearing proceedings against him could not proceed in the absence of a clearance from the President since third-level officers, or those with the rank of colonel and higher, are appointed by the President,” Fajardo explained.
The IAS earlier recommended an administrative complaint for dishonesty against Umipig over an alleged cover-up, after he ordered the exclusion of 11 officers from the report on the Aug. 2 operation.
Umipig has denied the allegation.
According to Fajardo, the dismissal and suspension orders underwent a review by a committee to ensure that process was followed and that the recommendations would not be reversed during the appeal stage because of mere technicalities.
“We do not want these dismissed police officers to be able to return to the service,” she said.