NBI probes HPG duo in ‘gun grabber’ slay | Inquirer News

NBI probes HPG duo in ‘gun grabber’ slay

HPG members PO2 Jonjie Manon-og (left) and PO3 Jeremiah De Villa submit themselves to an NBI investigation on Friday.    Marianne Bermudez

HPG members PO2 Jonjie Manon-og (left) and PO3 Jeremiah De Villa submit themselves to an NBI investigation on Friday. Marianne Bermudez

The two Highway Patrol Group (HPG) officers being investigated for the death of an arrested motorcyclist last week maintained that one of them had to shoot him because he tried to grab the other’s gun while in their patrol car.

It was PO3 Jeremiah De Villa who fired at John dela Riarte, according to the statement submitted by De Villa and colleague PO2 Jonjie Manon-og to the National Bureau of Investigation  on Friday.

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The two HPG men appeared at the NBI’s Death Investigation Division (DID), four days after the Dela Riarte family cried murder and went to the bureau for help.

On July 29, the motorbike-riding Dela Riarte was arrested by De Villa and Manon-og after he figured in a road altercation with another motorist, Eric Fajardo, in Makati City. He was handcuffed and taken to the HPG headquarters in Camp Crame but was shot dead along the way.

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Three days later, Dela Riarte’s brother, Robert, asked the NBI to step in, saying the HPG had declined to conduct its own probe. In media interviews, Robert said a certain Inspector Abasco warned him not to talk and called his slain brother a drug addict because he had “big eyes.”

Robert also spoke of a video clip that had surfaced showing his brother’s hands were cuffed behind him when arrested.

NBI-DID chief Danielito Lalusis talked with De Villa and Manon-og behind closed doors for more than an  hour on Friday.

Based on the statement the officers gave, “it was De Villa who shot the victim twice,” Lalusis said later in an interview, adding that the NBI forensics team recovered a bullet and two casings inside the HPG car.

The official noted, however, that the NBI autopsy report showed that the victim sustained four gunshot wounds.

The NBI findings were consistent with a statement issued by Dr. Jerome Bolivar of the Philippine National Police General Hospital, who attended to Dela Riarte in the emergency room when he was brought there by Manon-og, De Villa and another policeman at 10:35 a.m. on July 29.

Bolivar on Friday submitted to the NBI details from the hospital records regarding Dela Riarte’s arrival. According to the doctor, Dela Riarte was on a stretcher, still “gasping” for air and not in handcuffs  when he first saw him at the ER that morning.

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Bolivar said efforts to resuscitate Dela Riarte lasted for 30 to 45 minutes before he was pronounced dead.

Quoting NBI findings, Lalusis said Dela Riarte tested negative for drug use but had a small quantity of alcohol in his system.

For its next step, he said, the NBI would finish other aspects of the investigation and may stage a reenactment of the incident before deciding whether to file any charge against the HPG officers.

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TAGS: gun grabber, Highway Patrol Group, HPG, John dela Riarte, National Bureau of Investigation, NBI, PO3 Jeremiah De Villa
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