Relatives of three Brgy. Payatas, Quezon City residents who were killed allegedly by policemen in August last year filed a letter-complaint before the Philippine National Police’s Internal Affairs Service in Camp Crame on Tuesday, asking for a deeper investigation of the case.
Katrina Polo, Mariza Hamoy, and Marilyn Bordeos had previously filed a complaint for human rights violation (particularly the “violation on the right to life”) before the Commission on Human Rights’ National Capital Region office against 16 policemen from the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs (SAID) Task Force of Police Station 6 of the Quezon City Police District.
According to their supplemental consolidated sworn statement dated September 30, 2016, Katrina’s husband Cherwen, Mariza’s son Darwin, Marilyn’s nephew William (also known as Blink), and a certain “Rambo” were shot dead by the police on August 14, 2016 at around midnight.
In its resolution issued in April this year, CHR-NCR found that the policemen “failed to respect and protect the dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of the victims, thus making them “liable for human rights violations.”
CHR-NCR then recommended that the records of the case be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman for the filing of criminal and administrative charges against the policemen, and that financial assistance amounting to P10,000 each be granted to the heirs of Cherwen, William, and Darwin.
Based on Katrina, Mariza, and Marilyn’s supplemental consolidated sworn statement, Cherwen had been celebrating his birthday over drinks with Darwin, William, and two other friends, Harold Arevalo and a certain Rambo, at the Polos’ home on August 14, 2016.
At around 11 p.m., Katrina arrived home and saw that Cherwen and Rambo were already sleeping – Cherwen in their room on the second floor, and Rambo on a chair also on the second floor. Darwin, William, and Harold were still drinking.
At around 11:45 p.m., Darwin bought a cigarette at the store next door. After a few moments, someone knocked on the Polos’ door. William opened it, and Katrina said she heard him say, “Sir, huwag po, wala po (Sir, don’t do it, there’s nothing here).”
After a few moments, Katrina, who was inside their room, heard people climbing the stairs to their second floor. She then heard six gunshots coming from the second floor. She opened the door of their room and saw that there were already around five policemen downstairs inside their house. They were all wearing flak vests and carried “mahahaba at maiksing mga baril (long and short guns)”.
It was then that Katrina pleaded with them, saying, “Sir, huwag kayong magpapaputok at may mga bata dito. Hulihin niyo ang hulihin niyo (Sir, please don’t shoot because there are children here. Just arrest the ones you have to arrest).”
A policeman replied, “Lumabas kayo (Get out)!”
She answered, “Hindi po kami lalabas (We will not go out).”
Six other policemen forced their way inside the house (“pwersahang pumasok”) and dragged Katrina out, along with her three children. Once they were outside, she heard two gunshots. They fled to a friend’s home.
After this, according to the statement, “Ang mga labi ng aming mahal sa buhay ay hinila palabas ng bahay ng mga pulis at isa-isang inilagay sa sako. Matapos maisako ang labi ng aming mahal sa buhay ay isinakay sa mobile unit na pag-aari ng Barangay Payatas A. Dinala ng mga pulis ang nasabing mga labi sa Quezon City General Hospital subalit hindi tinanggap ng hospital management ang apat na labi dahil patay na ang mga ito (The remains of our loved ones were dragged outside of the house by the police and were placed one by one in a sack. After they placed the bodies of our loved ones in the sack, they were hauled into a mobile unit owned by Barangay Payatas A. The police brought the said remains in Quezon City General Hospital but the hospital management did not accept the four bodies because they were already dead).”
Katrina, Mariza, and Marilyn said they went to the CHR not only so that the killings of their loved ones could be investigated, but also because they were seeking protection as they feared the policemen involved would come after them next.
The respondent policemen are:
SPO1 Jun Ralph Pinero
PO1 Herbert Angoluan
PO1 Wilson Escuro
SPO2 Carlo Sabella
SPO2 Malvin Merida
SPO2 Rhodolf Makie
SPO1 Ronnie Bangat
PO3 Dennis Pal
PO3 Richard Timon
PO3 Edilberto Vargas
PO3 Nonillon Labaron
PO2 Michael Maderable
PO2 Amirudin Ibrahim
PO2 Albert Pomba
PO2 Andy Adlawan
PO1 Charles Molino
CHR-NCR noted that Pinero, in his counter-affidavit dated November 4, 2016, explained that he was designated by their station commander as the team leader to conduct a buy-bust operation against “Erwin” (referring to Cherwen), “Christian”, and “Banjo”, all “confirmed/validated notorious group of drug pusher(s)” operating in Brgy. Payatas A.
The team claimed they were supposedly monitoring the transaction between Cherwen and their “poseur buyer” when Cherwen allegedly realized that he was actually dealing with the police. He then “rushed inside a house and began firing a gun towards the suspected policeman.”
To “preserve the life of our team member,” Pinero said, he ordered his team to take cover and “defensively return fire at the assailants”. He added that Cherwen was not sleeping when he was shot, contrary to Katrina’s claim, and was actually about to sell illegal drugs to the poseur buyer.
Pinero also claimed that Darwin was not shot while buying his cigarette at the store, but, rather, he was supposedly with Cherwen and William during the “gun battle”.
CHR-NCR, in its April 2017 resolution, said it “gave more credence to the statement of complainants,” and found that the statements of the respondents “contain(ed) inconsistencies that cast doubts as to (their) veracity.”
In the letter of Katrina, Mariza, and Marilyn, addressed to PNP-IAS Inspector General Atty. Alfegar Triambulo, the women called for an investigation into the deaths of Cherwen, Darwin, William, and Rambo. They also asked for an investigation into the culpability of the former QCPD Station 6 chief, Supt. Lito Enking Patay.
The women also raised the following issues, which they believe “are very disturbing and warrant a closer investigation by the IAS” of the case:
1. There was no buy-bust, given the very cramped passageways outside the Polo residence, with no evidence in any of the houses around it of the discharge of weapons during the said buy-bust.
2. Blink (or William) Bordeos was shot at the door as he opened it, with Katrina Polo hearing the knock plus what Bordeos uttered to the attacking policemen, not to mention that she saw his body slumped near the door when she was forced to exit the house – in short, no gunfight against the police had happened.
3. If a gunfight had occurred, as claimed by QCPD Stn. 6, how come there are no bullet holes on the walls of the Polo residence and in the ceiling, as well as no spent cartridge cases in the second floor room where the suspects were allegedly firing from?
4. Why does the PNP autopsy findings basically contradict the gunfight story, based on the wounds of those killed?
5. If the gunfight did happen, why did survivor Harold Arevalo “escape” by jumping out a window that was facing the line of fire of the police from outside the house?
6. There was no gunfight, because our loved ones killed never owned any guns, much less the three .45 cal. automatics police claim are among their many weapons!
7. How can this alleged criminal gang have nice guns such as .45 cal. autos, but cannot buy enough bullets to fill even just a magazine?
8. Worst of all, you in IAS cannot just easily dispute our points because there was no valid SOCO done at the crime scene, since the bodies were moved right away.
9. Why is it that the barangay mobile was the one used to bring the bodies out?
10. Why is it that the two separate affidavits filed to the CHR, one by SPO1 Jun Ralph Pinero and another by PO1s Angoluan and Escuro, stated things like ” … on August 15, 2016 instruct us … to form a team and devise a plan … ” when the four were killed on the night of 14 August, close to midnight? How could QCPD Stn. 6 make a plan AFTER the killings?
11. Why did QCPD file a case only for direct assault versus survivor Harold Arevalo (dated 22 August 2016 listed as case M-QZN-16-08826-CR), and yet claim that they recovered drugs at the crime scene which was jointly owned by all the “suspects”?
12. Who is Chokoy? (This is) the name of one of the corpses QCPD Stn. 6 included in this case, who was not there at all!