Police to probe Jolo Revilla shooting despite family claim it was accidental
MANILA, Philippines — Despite pronouncements from the family that his shooting was accidental, the police on Sunday formed a composite team to investigate the incident that saw Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla sustaining a gunshot wound and being rushed to a hospital in Muntinlupa on Saturday.
Director Carmelo Valmoria, head of the National Capital Region Police Office, said the composite team–composed of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Crime Lab, the Muntinlupa police, among others would be headed by Chief Supt. Henry Rañola, the Southern Police District director.
He said the team would look into, among others, what really transpired in the house of detained Senator Bong Revilla and his wife Rep. Lani Mercado in Ayala-Alabang on Saturday, and whether a third party was involved.
“This is standard-operating procedure, to investigate. Even if an ordinary person was involved in an incident like this, we also investigate,” Valmoria said.
He said the team — which held a meeting on Sunday morning, around 8 a.m. — is currently in the data-gathering stage.
Valmoria said the family — which, according to Senior Supt. Allan Nobleza, officer-in-charge of the Muntinlupa police, had not officially reported the shooting to the police as of Saturday afternoon — had already spoken to the police but Valmoria declined to elaborate on the details.
Revilla family lawyer, Raymond Fortun, later told reporters waiting at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center where the vice governor was confined that the police in particular talked to another family lawyer, Jeff Zarate, and “discussed about whether (the police) would be allowed to conduct an ocular inspection of the premises, when they could talk to (the vice governor), when the gun and shell could be gotten (kailan makukuha baril at basyo).”
“And all of these will be made available… In fact today, we are already having the gun and shell ready so when the police ask for them, they will be given immediately,” Fortun said.
He told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that as to the ocular inspection, Zarate had told the police that he (Zarate) would “let the family know.”
He said Revilla — the “main person who can shed light on what happened” — would be available for an interview by the police “probably tomorrow (Monday, Mar. 2) afternoon,” or a day after the vice governor underwent a “minor surgery.”
Fortun said the surgery — which the young Revilla underwent past 2 p.m. on Sunday and which he said lasted two to three hours — involved inserting a “flexible tube in the path of the bullet” to “remove the blood left inside his body and prevent infections.”
“If the operation is successful, we might expect (the young Revilla) to remain another 72 hours (in the hospital) before he is discharged,” Fortun said.
But even as Fortun said that the family was “more than willing to cooperate” with the police, he insisted that the shooting was “purely a domestic matter.”
“If we look at what happened, of course the family is very willing to talk to the police, although we really feel that this is not something that should be a big issue to the police because no third party is involved,” Fortun said.
Asked why there was information that no family member spoke to the police when they went to the Revilla house upon learning about the shooting through television, Fortun said: “we shouldn’t maybe think that it was like that. Because what we know is there were policemen who went to the house but as you can probably expect, they won’t find anyone there because all the relatives are here in the hospital.”
He said that as of Saturday night, no policeman went to the hospital.
The Inquirer, however, saw policemen going to the hospital on Saturday night.
When asked for information, a policeman who was seen outside the hospital premises and was walking toward a Bacoor, Cavite mobile said he was not allowed inside the hospital.
When told about the fact that security personnel at the Asian Hospital had told reporters Saturday night that the Cavite vice governor was not confined there even if some members of the Revilla family were seen inside, Fortun admitted that the family had issued prior instructions to that effect.
“There was an initial instruction to the hospital to deny the existence. Yes, for personal reasons. They didn’t want there to be a lot of activity. So they wanted some privacy,” Fortun said.
“The typical family reaction is it was a very traumatic experience, let’s try to keep this among ourselves, try to work it out. Kasi let’s face it, incidents like these have political ramifications as well,” Fortun added.
He said, however, that when he visited Revilla at the hospital Saturday, he told Mercado that he did not see any problem with confirming that the young Revilla was indeed in the hospital when asked.
“Because the more you try to hide it, the more there might be additional speculations. So I said go ahead confirm it. He’s really here. There’s no point in denying,” Fortun said.
Here is the Revilla family’s version of what happened on Saturday in their house in Ayala-Alabang as recounted by their spokesperson, lawyer Raymond Fortun:
The young Revilla was waiting for his mother, Rep. Lani Mercado Revilla, to finish dressing up.
They were supposed to go somewhere together (Fortun said he was unsure if the two were supposed to go visit Revilla’s father, Senator Bong Revilla, in his detention cell in Camp Crame).
The vice governor “probably” got bored with waiting, he decided to clean his government-issued gun in his room.
The gun, a .40 cal. Glock, is registered to the Province of Cavite.
The young Revilla did not notice the bullet in the gun and “happened to” pull the trigger.
A bullet pierced through the upper part of the vice governor’s chest, right above his right nipple.
The bullet went out his right shoulder.
One of the vice governor’s siblings heard a gun was fired and rushed to her brother’s room.
The two (the vice governor and his sister) rushed to their mother’s bedroom “basically saying I was shot.”
The congresswoman rushed the vice governor to the hospital.
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