Caloocan court convicts 4 cops in father-and-son 'drug war' death

Caloocan court convicts 4 cops in father-and-son ‘drug war’ death

/ 03:53 PM June 18, 2024

Caloocan court convicts 4 cops in father-and-son 'drug war' death

The Caloocan City Regional Trial Court convicts four police officers over the death of a father and his son at the height of the government’s “drug war” in 2016. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Caloocan City Regional Trial Court has convicted four police officers over the death of a father and his son at the height of the government’s “drug war” in 2016.

The lower court said Police Master Sergeant Virgilio Q. Servantes, and Police Corporals Arnel De Guzman, Johnston M. Alacre, and Argemio Saguros Jr. are guilty of homicide for the death of Luis Bonficaio and his son Gabriel. The police officers were sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment, and ordered to jointly pay the victims’ heirs a total of P400,000 for actual, civil indemnity, moral, and temperate damages.


READ: Caloocan cop found guilty for ‘drug war’ deaths of two teens


Based on official records, the Caloocan policemen stormed the house of Bonifacio as part of the government’s “tokhang” operations on September 15, 2016.

His wife, Mary Ann Domingo, said her husband went down on his knees and pleaded while the police officers were pointing guns at his head. She also said that she and her other children were dragged outside the house and later led into a van when they heard gunshots coming from their house.

Domingo also said that a witness told her that her son Gabriel was dragged into the streets while police officers were shouting “nanlalaban (he is resisting)” before being shot.

READ: Abante says ‘drug war’ victims’ kin must attend hearings, not give in to fear

Domingo said Bonifacio died on the spot while Gabriel died in the hospital.


A murder case was eventually filed against the involved police officers. However, after four years, the Office of the Ombudsman downgraded the charge to homicide.

The Ombudsman’s ruling has reached the Supreme Court (SC). The SC later affirmed the Ombudsman’s findings, prompting the trial to push through before the local court.

This is the fourth conviction of cops involved in the drug war campaign of the Duterte administration.

The first conviction against the police was in 2018 when three cops were found guilty of the death of Grade 11 student Kian delos Santos.

READ: 3 policemen guilty of killing Kian delos Santos — court

In 2022, Police Corporal Jefrey Perez was found guilty of torture and planting evidence on 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman.

READ: Cop guilty of drug war torture, frame-up of teens

A year later, Perez was found guilty of two counts of murder for the death of Arnaiz and de Guzman.

“This is only the fourth known conviction in the thousands of cases of extrajudicial killings in the drug war, and thousands more of these killings, alongside human rights violations committed by State forces in Duterte’s counterinsurgency campaign, remain bereft of justice,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General said in a statement.

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While the group welcomed the court’s decision, they lamented that what they originally filed was murder “and that superior officers who planned and had oversight on the operations have not been included as respondents in the case.”

She added: “We continue to stand in solidarity with all victims of human rights violations, including those who suffered under Duterte and those who continue to suffer under the Marcos Jr. administration, in our collective demand for justice and accountability.”

TAGS: Caloocan, Drug war, PNP‎, Tokhang

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