PAO can’t defend cops in Mandaluyong shooting; survivors asked help first
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) cannot provide free legal aid to the police officers and village watchmen implicated in the killing of two people and wounding of two others in Mandaluyong City last Dec. 28.
PAO frequently represents police officers facing criminal charges in connection with the performance of their duties.
But not in this case, because as PAO chief Persida Rueda Acosta explained on Wednesday: “It was the survivors of the shooting who first sought our assistance.”
She was referring to Eliseo Aluad and Danilo Santiago, who survived the attack by nine police officers and three village watchmen who had mistaken them for gunmen aboard an SUV.
“We cannot represent both parties in the same case because that would be a conflict of interest on our part,” Acosta saaid.
According to her, PAO usually gives legal aid to individuals who first sought their help in cases where opposing parties are both seeking their assistance.
Facing criminal charges over the incident are Senior Insp. Maria Cristina Vasquez, PO2 Nel Songalia and Police Officers 1 Kim Tinbusay, Bryan Nicolas, Julius Livuen, Ariel Uribe, Jave Arellano, Tito Danao, Mark Castillo and Albert Buwag.
Also charged were village watchmen Wilmer Duron and Gilbert Gulpo of Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong.
Recently, Acosta’s office provided free legal assistance to the families of victims killed in police operations, such as teenagers Carl Angelo Arnaiz, Kian Lloyd delos Santos and Reynaldo de Guzman.
Both Arnaiz and Delos Santos were killed by Caloocan City police officers in purported drugs operations. De Guzman was found dead a few days after he was last seen alive with Arnaiz. /atm