AFTER a swift but thorough proBe, the Public Attorney’s Office has filed criminal complaints against two Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group personnel who killed a motorcycle rider in an incident that went viral on social media.
PAO investigators concluded that the police officers caused the death of John de la Riarte on July 29.
PO2 Jonjie Manon-og and PO3 Jeremiah de Villa were charged with violation of Republic Act No. 9745 or the anti-torture law, violation of R.A. No. 7438 or the law on the rights of arrested persons, and murder.
In its seven-page report, the PAO panel said it was not inclined to believe that dela Riarte resisted arrest, as claimed by the HPG.
It said the video taken by the star witness showed dela Riarte was punched in the stomach with a gun, slapped on the face, and elbowed on the back.
PAO noted that the “seemingly unnecessary force/torture” shown by the video actually prompted it to recommend the filing of the charges for violating RA No. 9745.
The case against the policemen turned out very strong citing the findings of PAO Forensic Laboratory Director Erwin Erfe, who said that de la Riarte was shot five times close to the heart, liver and hips—a manner described as “execution style.”
Erfe said dela Riarte sustained seven gunshot wounds, five of which are entry wounds. Four of the gunshots came from the front, while one came from the back.
However, he could not be determined just how close dela Riarte was shot as PAO didnot have the victim’s clothes.
“Our conclusion in the report was that the manner of death was intentional killing. Cause of death, multiple gunshot wounds. The three shots were fatal,” Erge said.
The PAO panel also recommended the filing of administrative complaints before the National Police Commission.
PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta stressed that the video did not show de la Riarte resisting arrest.
John was handcuffed like a pig. Meaning, he had no means to inflict harm,” she said.
Jaime R. Pilapil