HPG officer accused of killing cyclist found dead

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One of the two personnel of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) accused of killing a motorcycle rider apprehended late last month was found dead early Saturday in Camp Crame.

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HPG Director Chief Supt. Antonio Gardiola Jr. told reporters that PO3 Jeremiah de Villa’s body was found at around 9 a.m. on the grounds of the Police Security and Protection Group building in Camp Crame. Authorities suspect that he committed suicide.

Gardiola said de Villa was pronounced dead on arrival by the attending physician at the PNP General Hospital also in Camp Crame.

De Villa and PO2 Jonjie Manon-og apprehended motorcycle rider John Dela Riarte on July 29 after the latter figured in an altercation with another motorist in Makati City.

In their counter-affidavits filed on Friday before the Department of Justice, the HPG personnel denied murdering, torturing and robbing Dela Riarte. They said the cyclist attempted to snatch their firearm and kept on cursing and hurling invectives at them inside a patrol car on the way to Camp Crame.

“At that time, the only thing foremost in my mind was to maim and disable John B. Dela Riarte so that he could not be a danger to PO2 Jonjie Manon-og and to the public or other motorists as we were [on]EDSA and the cars were slow moving as it was traffic (sic),” De Villa said in his affidavit.

“In a split second, instinctively, I got my gun and while shouting ‘tumigil ka, tumigil ka (stop it, stop it)! turning half sideways to my right, I pulled the trigger of my gun to disable John B. Dela Riarte,” De Villa said, adding that “the incident happened so fast that I could feel panic rising to my throat when I realized he was bleeding.”
The National Bureau of Investigation said Dela Riarte died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, abdomen, and right thigh.

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