Sta. Ana rape suspect mauled to death by jail inmates – reports
MANILA, Philippines — It was not yet a closed case, apparently.
The suspect in the rape of a 6-year old girl on Saturday—reported earlier to have died of epilepsy—died by suffering “blunt traumatic injury through multiple clubbing,” according to the autopsy report obtained by investigators and confessions of inmates detained at Sta. Ana Police Station in Manila.
Nine inmates, suspected to have participated in the clubbing, were brought by the MPD-Homicide operatives to the Manila Police District headquarters on Tuesday morning for questioning.
Among the arrested were Salvador Gozon, 41; Rowie Manalac, 23; Jade Villamor, 22; Michael de la Cruz, 23; Bernardo Lazatin, 40; Germain Robles, 29; Alvin Anonuevo, 26; and Louie Mercado, who identified himself as a radio reporter detained for failing to wear a helmet while driving a motorcycle, and Bahala na Gang mayor John Chris Lopez, 23.
SPO1 Alonzo Layugan said the autopsy report, which revealed a different version of Gerardo Argota Jr.’s death, compelled the policemen of the Sta. Ana police station to investigate further. Two witnesses pointed at the nine suspects as responsible.
Argota, 45, a car wash employee, was declared dead on arrival at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on Sunday, after suffering a seizure during his inquest proceedings at Manila City Hall.
Lopez told Philippine Daily Inquirer that the inmates started hitting, punching and kicking Argota the moment he entered the prison cell on Saturday afternoon and continued until 11 a.m. Sunday.
The inmates, he said, got irritated with him upon knowing that he raped a 6-year-old girl, and admitted that he did it more than once. What made them more furious, however, was when they saw and heard the crying victim and her furious mother when they visited around 2 a.m., Sunday, at the police station, Lopez said.
“I have a younger sister myself,” Lopez, who admitted hitting Argota together with all the other 67 inmates, said.
Mercado added that Argota had been molested, too, inside the cell. An inmate even bragged of doing a sex act with him for P50.
As of press time, investigators Layugan and PO3 Noel Santiago, were waiting for the appearance of the Sta. Ana Police station 6 police officers at the MPD for further investigation.
The nine arrested could be charged with murder by clubbing, Layugan said.
The initial report of Senior Insp. Robert Casimiro Domingo, station commander of the Manila Police District’s Sta. Ana police station, said Argota was brought by members of the Punta Police Community Precinct to City Hall for inquest proceedings around2:30 p.m. Sunday.
While being presented to Prosecutor Ma. Josefina Concepcion, Argota suffered a seizure, prompting the former to order policemen to take him to the nearest hospital. However, Dr. Marjorie Launico of the PGH trauma division-emergency room pronounced him dead at 3:05 p.m.
Argota was arrested around 5 p.m. Saturday after a barangay councilor, Romeo Concepcion of Barangay 902, caught him raping the 6-year-old girl in the tenement building where the suspect lived.
The victim, assisted by her mother, told police investigators that she was playing near the building on F. Manalo Street, Punta in Sta. Ana, when Argota dragged her inside, took her to the roof and raped her.
Reached for comment, Senior Inspector Domingo, said he “immediately” conducted a separate investigation following Argota’s death.
Domingo said the Sta. Ana police did not know about the clubbing as he was wearing long sleeves when he was brought to the Manila City Hall. Argota’s mouth was covered while being beaten and did not complain to the jail guard, either, he added.
The jail guard on duty would be investigated for administrative complaint, Domingo said, adding that the installed CCTV inside the cell did not capture the incident. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.