5 cops tagged in ‘rubout’ get ultimatum | Inquirer News

5 cops tagged in ‘rubout’ get ultimatum

The five Manila policemen tagged in the alleged “rubout” or summary execution of a robbery suspect Tuesday night are given until Friday morning to surrender and answer charges for the killing, which was captured on a security camera on a street in Sampaloc.

Insp. Rommel Salazar and his subordinates Ferdinand Valera, Ronald Dipacina, Rhoel Landrito, and Diomar Landoy—all ranked Police Officer 1—would be considered “fugitives” should they fail to report by 8 a.m. today, Manila Police District director Senior Supt. Rolando Nana said Thursday.


A murder complaint has been filed against the officers by the family of Robin Villarosa, a 24-year-old tricycle driver, who was shot dead allegedly by one of the policemen at pointblank range as he raised his hands and got down on his knees to surrender after encountering the MPD members.

“We are already building up criminal and administrative cases against these five officers. We have given them until 8 a.m. to appear at the MPD headquarters. After that, they will be considered fugitives of the law,” Nana said.


The five officers report to the MPD’s Gulod Police Community Precinct (PCP), with Salazar as the commander. MPD records showed that two of them had faced administrative cases: Salazar was held liable for the death of a detainee under his watch, while Landoy was once cited for failing to attend a head count.

The five officers were ordered relieved of their posts Wednesday after a security camera footage surfaced in the media purportedly showing how Villarosa was killed late Tuesday night on Sociego Street in Barangay 546, Sampaloc, Manila.

The officers were supposed to report to a holding unit of the MPD on Thursday but they did not show up, Nana said.

Police version

According to the MPD-Gulod PCP’s spot report on the incident, Villarosa and an unidentified male companion pointed a gun at Barangay Councilor Steven de Leon and declared a holdup as he was walking on Sociego Street at 11:45 p.m. of July 14.

The suspects allegedly seized De Leon’s pouch containing about P1,000 in cash, his cell phone and other personal belongings.

The five policemen stationed at the nearby Gulod PCP were said to have seen the alleged robbery and immediately responded, catching up and trading shots with the suspects until Villarosa was killed with a shot to the head.


The same report said two pistols—a .45-caliber and a 9-mm— were recovered at the scene.

But video footage from one of the security cameras installed in the barangay—which was later shown in TV news reports—showed one of the policemen shooting Villarosa thrice in the head after he got off his tricycle, raised his hands and knelt.

Salazar was later tagged as the alleged shooter.

Villarosa’s companion in the tricycle, who remained unidentified, was last seen running toward the policemen, carrying a pouch.

MPD investigators refused to call the incident a “rubout,” stressing that it remained under investigation. A special team, Task Force Gulod, has been formed to focus on the case.


‘Planted evidence’

The murder complaint was filed by Villarosa’s brother, Ericson, who maintained that his slain sibling was innocent of the robbery allegations.

“Robin and I were very close. He would always tell me if he had problems. I don’t believe he is capable of robbing someone,” Ericson said in an Inquirer interview.

But Ericson later admitted that his brother had a criminal record “for child abuse after forcing a minor to sell a mobile phone.”

Still, he said, the security camera footage not only captured the killing of his brother but also showed that a man placed a pistol next to his body.

“I’ve seen the footage and it’s clearly there. Someone planted evidence on the scene that made the police think that my brother was involved in the robbery,” he said. “I hope they feel the pain that our family feels with the death of my brother.”

But according to Chief Insp. Marissa Bruno, the task force spokesperson, “we have to check the footage again about that (allegedly planted evidence)… As far as we are concerned, (Villarosa) is one of the suspects.”

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TAGS: Diomar Landoy, Ferdinand Valera, Manila, MPD’s Gulod Police Community Precinct, Rhoel Landrito, Rommel Salazar, Ronald Dipacina, rubout, Sampaloc, Steven de Leon
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