Cops’ use of ‘excessive force’ seen in death of 5 in Cavite
SAN PEDRO CITY — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said policemen might have used “excessive force” in the shootout that left five people, including a pregnant teen, dead in Cavite City in October.
Airon Cruz, 28, who appeared to be the primary target of the police operation on Oct. 23, 2017, died of nine bullet wounds in the head, thighs, arms and chest.
His brother, Arcy-Niño, 30, died to bullet wounds in the head and lower abdomen, while Airon’s girlfriend, Charlie Jean Du, 15, died of seven bullet wounds.
Du was four months pregnant at the time.
Results of the CHR forensic test came out only this week, although Rex Guevarra, CHR regional director in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) on Tuesday said their findings were not yet final.
The CHR failed to get consent from the families to reautopsy the bodies of Romeo “Jack” Bejerano, 28; and Jeffrey Dasig, 32, who also died in the shootout.
“Just by looking at the (forensic) results, these indicate excessive force. But then again, that’s prima facie (meaning) at first glance. (We’ll have to see) if the police could justify the force used,” Guevarra said in a telephone interview.
Supt. Giovannie Martinez, city police chief, on Tuesday said they had not yet seen the CHR findings.
“We stand by our men that it was a legitimate encounter and necessary force was exerted only to repel the resistance,” Martinez said.
Police said Airon was a leader of a gun-for-hire group in Cavite. He was arrested and later released on bail for possession of illegal firearms in September.
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