Category Archives: Police

Gunmen slaughtering criminal suspects

Apart from killing human rights and social activists, gunmen in the southern Philippines are carrying out the systematic slaughter of persons accused of involvement in criminal activities and even some who have been the victims of crimes. Dozens have died in such incidents.

In a span of three months 29 persons, five of whom were minors, have been reported murdered in separate shooting incidents in General Santos City. This figure is a small fraction of the actual number of killings, most of which remain undocumented. The gunmen, usually armed with .45 caliber pistols and riding on motorcycles, go out on shooting sprees and take out their targets with complete impunity.

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Senseless deaths: Nine dead, four wounded and one survives

His passengers shot him dead

Date: April 1 or 2; at San Pedro Street, Mateo Road, Barangay Bula
Victim: Jun Villamor, 57; a resident of Sto. Nino, Alabel, Sarangani

Jun Villamor was shot dead by two of passengers he was ferrying who allegedly had attempted to steal the motorcycle he was driving.

Jun was last seen driving his motorcycle with two other persons riding on his motorcycle. Before slamming his motorcycle underneath the back of a utility vehicle parked along the roadside, witnesses have heard gunshots.

Two of the attackers were seen escaping from the crime scene, one of whom was seen having difficulty of walking apparently from his injuries.

Jun suffered two fatal gunshot wounds from his back that pierced into his mouth. His artificial teeth frame was also found some 80 meters from where his dead body was pinned under a vehicle. His was identified through the motorcycle registration he had from his wallet. Some of the driver, who had come to the crime scene had also help identifying him.

His motorcycle, a red color Honda Wave model, was in total wreck.

Four killed, four wounded in a week

Date: from March 18 to 22
March 19
1. Gabriel Sintosas, 23; of Purok Malok (killed)
2. Emerson Estocado, 21; a resident of Purok San Roque, Labangal (killed)
March 20
3. Jonel Masula, 20; of Purok Litan, Barangay Sinawal
4. A 14-year-old person
Wounded:
5. Sadam Malagat
6. Ronie Ramos
7. Jerson and his brother;
8. Jonnel Lauron.

On March 18, Gabriel Sintosas, was shot dead at around 7:50am at his residence in Purok Malok, Barangay Labangal. At 9:10am also on that day, another victim, Emerson Estocado, 21; of Purok San Roque, was also killed.

On March 20, at around 9pm one Jonel Masula, 20 of Purok Litan, Barangay Sinawal and another 14-year-old were also murdered in Barangay Mabuhay.

Apart from those killed, four other teens have also been taken to General Santos City Hospital when unidentified gunmen shot them. The victims were Sadam Malagat, Ronie Ramos; and brothers Jerson and Jonnel Lauron. Two men riding on a motorcycle were seen shooting at them.

According to the police, those responsible in these attacks were persons described as about 5’5 feet tall, about 25 to 30 years of age. They were using a black Honda wave without a license plate.

Gunmen kill 16-yeard-old

Date: March 18, around 9:55pm along Barangay City Heights
Victim: Rolen Daganio (a.k.a dugong bunso), 16; a resident of Perez Subdivision, Barangay San Isidro

Rolen Daganio was with two of his relatives when he was shot dead by unidentified gunmen riding on another motorcycle. Rolen was waiting for his uncle and cousin who at the time stopped along the roadside to answer the call of nature.

His uncle, Rogelio Inconcillano, and cousin, Rember Nunez, said Rolen was waiting for them when attackers suddenly appeared and shot him.

The attackers were riding another motorcycle, a red XLR model. Rolen and his relatives were at the time on their way to a church. Rolen has died instantly as he was hit to his check piercing through his head.

The two gunmen Nakasibat had escaped towards the National Highway.
Rolen’s body was taken to the RBL Funeral Homes.

Found dead at a roadside

Date: March 10; at around 9:15pm in Purok Bulaong Extension, Barangay Labangal
Victim: Danilo Bactol, 45; a resident of Purok 3 Lanton, Barangay Apopong

Danilo Bactol was found dead and his motorcycle stolen shortly after he was last seen ferrying two other passengers whom he had picked up. He suffered gunshot wounds to his belly and back which reportedly resulted to his death.

Danilo’s body had been found at a roadside by some of the villagers in the area.
The motorcycle was driving, Honda Bravo X-100 with license plate number MC 4670, could no longer be located. It was apparently stolen by the attackers as it happens in other cases.

Danilo was taking the passenger to Purok Bulaong, a place close to where he was found dead, when they themselves had him killed. The police were able to recover two empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol. Danilo suffered two fatal gunshot wounds.

Former detainee shot dead

Date: March 7; at around 10:30am along Amao Road, Barangay Bula
Victim: Nasser Kamid, 28; of Purok Islam, Barangay South

Nasser Kamid was in the area when three attackers riding on a motorcycle, armed with a .45 caliber pistol, suddenly appears and shot him dead.

Though the police have yet to conclude their investigation; they however suggest that he had been previously detained at the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol).

Nasser suffered three gunshot wounds to his head. Three empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol had been recovered by the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team at the crime scene.

The police, too, had impounded the motorcycle and safety helmets the attackers could have used when they attacked Nasser. The perpetrators had reportedly used another motorcycle, owned by another student, when they escape. It was however abadone close to a hospital.

Two of three suspects held; driver victim killed

Date: February 8 at 3:30pm along Sitio Linaw, Tinuto
Victim: Norsayda Dalagan, 16; of Barangay Bawing, General Santos.

Norsayda Dalagan had been hired by three passengers when they started attacking the former by repeatedly stabbing him as they pass through an inhabited place.

The three attackers, namely Armand Alero, 23; Arthur Ali Gosting, 23; and Teng Rebulan, 23, hired Norsayda’s service from Barangay Bawing towards Sitio Tampat, Barangay Tinuto. All the attackers were living in the same village.

However, upon reaching Sitio Linaw, Tinuto, they suddenly started stabbing Norsayda from the back. After the incident, the three men escape taking with them Norsayda’s motorcycle. They had hidden the motorcycle in a remote place.

But a witness who had seen the incident immediately reported to a nearby army detachment. One of the soldiers station there, Staff Sergeant Samuel Abucay had immediately responded by going to the crime scene which resulted to the arrest of one of the suspects. Alero. Staff Sergeant Samuel said Norsayda was still breathing when they arrived but he later died as they were about to take him to hospital.

“Nakit-an nako sir nga anaa sa daplin kritikal ang drayber nga si Norsayda ako na lang gipasakay sa usa ka sakyanan aron dad-on sa ospital apan wala na makaya sir nakabsan na siya sa iyang kinabuhi (I saw the driver in critical condition along the roadside. I thought of taking him to hospital by another vehicle but he already died),” Samuel said.

As the police were taking Alero to the nearby Municipality of Maasim, Sarangani, they had been informed that another suspect, Arthur, was seen escaping by riding on a passenger van. The police set-up a checkpoint along Barangay Bawing and eventually resulted to the arrest of Arthur. The two arrested persons were detained in Maasim.

Survives murder attempts by neighbor

Date: February 4; at around 8pm
Victim: Roger Gojeli, 19;

Roger Gojeli was ferrying his neighbor, a certain Iko, when the latter and his companion started repeatedly stabbing him, as they were forcibly taking his motorcycle.

Roger suffered 24 stab wounds to his head. The suspects had escaped and abandoned him for dead thinking that he was already dead. Roger, however, played dead along the roadside, and immediately reported to police when the attackers left.

Roger said alyas Iko had hired him for Php30 to send him to Lote Calumpang from Purok Mauswagon, Labangal. However, as they were passing through in a dark place the suspect started stabbing him.

They immediately took the victim’s motorcycle with them.

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Senseless deaths: 3 more cases

In addition to our yesterday’s post, below are three more cases of senseless deaths continuously occurring in General Santos City, Mindanao.

Never expect he was the target, too

Date: April 18 at 2:25pm iin Purok 6, Sitio Lanton, Barangay Apopong
Victim: Jonathan Lanciso,30; of Purok 4 of the same place

Jonathan Lanciso was with a crowd of people watching volleyball game when two gunmen, armed with .45 caliber pistol, approached him shooting him to his forehead. The bullet hitting him had pierced through the back of his head and his neck.

The attackers had escaped onboard a single motorcycle they had parked nearby to unknown direction. None of those who had seen the shooting, however, had come forward that they were able to identify the two attackers. The motorcycle also had no license plate.

Jonathan, who had come from a nearby village, came into the said place to observe a feast of a patron saint there when he was killed.

A team of police investigators from the Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) had recovered two slugs from a .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.

The victim’s wife, Agnes, had no idea to what could have been the motive into her husband’s murder. However, she said her husband had once told him that they had been hearing humors someone would be killed in their place but they never know who. This prompted her to remind her husband repeatedly into taking precautions.

Nag-ingon ang akong bana sa akoa nga dunay patyon sa among lugar, mao na nga ako pod sige og sulti sa iya nga mag-amping kay basi siya usab tripan. Apan ingon niya sa akoa nga nganong mahadlok man siya nga wala man siyay sala. (My husband told me someone would be killed in our place. That is why I also had kept on telling him to take precaution as he could be needlessly targeted. But he told me, why he should be afraid since he didn’t do anything wrong)”

Tinuod napriso na ang akong bana usa ka tuig og tulo ka bulan tungod napasanginlan nga nakawala og pusil apan nakit-an man kadto ang pusil hinungdan nga siya gibuhian. Apan wala nay dautang record ang akong bana sa amoa. (It is true that my husband had been detained for a year and three months after having been falsely accused of lossing a firearm. But it was later recovered that is he was released. He had no records of wrongdoing in our place)

Meanwhile, another man who had also lost a one to unabated killing, Cesar, had expressed his disappointments with the government for its continuing failure to solve the killings there. His was the father of a village policeman who had been killed in Barangay South days earlier.

“Sa tinuod lang, ako anaa man usab sa gobyerno apan daghan nang patay ang nahitabo sa atong lugar apan nakadungog ba kamo nga dunay taho nga dunay nasulbad sa gipamatay sa siyudad, wala. (To tell you the truth, me too I am a government employee; however, there have been killinsg taking place in our place but have you heard any of it being solved? Nothing.

Bisan ako wala ko magdahum nga apil ang akong anak mabiktima usab niining extra judicial killings sa siyudad nga hangtud karon dakong problema lang gihapon. Nawad-an nako og pagsalig nga maangkon pa namo ang hustisya sa kamatayon sa akong anak. (Even me, I never thought that my son would also be one of those fallen victim to this extra-judicial killings in our city. I already lost trust that we would still be able to obtain justice for my son’s death),” he told local radio, Radio Mindanao Network (RMN).

Witnesses blinded by fear to laborer’s murder

Date: April 16 at around 2:40pm in Purok Malok Barangay Labangal
Victim: Consorcio Cepalda, 28; married, a resident of Purok Silway, San Juan, Barangay West

Consorcio Cepalda, a labourer working for Cebu Metal Corporation, was standing in front of his workplace waiting for a cargo truck, when two armed men, riding on a single motorcycle suddenly approached and shot him.

After the shooting, the gunmen had immediately escaped. Consocio’s colleagues had immediately come to his rescue taking him to the Diagans Cooperative Hospital. However, nearly three hours later he died while being treated there. He suffered gunshot wounds to his forehead and his back.

Police investigators themselves had difficulty investigating the case since the people who could have witnessed the incident refused to cooperate, a policeman said;

“Mao lagi na ang atong giproblemahan sa pagkakaron kay mismo ang mga tawo sa palibot pulos ambot, ambot, ambot. (Our problem is even the people who are there close to the crime would always say they didn’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know)”, said police investigator Senior Police Officer (SP01) Rex Diongon.

Dili (sila) andam motabang sa imbestigasyon hinungdan nga daghang mga kasong patay sa siyudad wala masulbad kay mismo gani ang mga nakakita bisan diha sa palibot dili man motabang bisan na lang unta nga mohatag sa ilang nasayran. (The witnesses had refused to cooperate that is why there have been several cases of killings in our city remains unsolved. Those who had witnessed the crime refused to cooperate even to sharing what they knew),” he added.

Gunman casually walked after shooting victim dead

Date: April 9 at 8:30pm at corner Magsaysay Avenue and Salazar street
Victim: Romy Aristoteles, 33; a resident of Zone 3, Purok Matinabangon, Barangay Labangal

Romy Aristoteles, a passenger motorcycle driver, was waiting for passengers he could pick up on street, when a gunman, armed with a .45 caliber pistol, suddenly shot him to the back of his head.

After the shooting, the attacker casually walked away from the crime scene.

Romy fell with his blood splatter to the ground. His fellow driver, Eleazar Patallo, immediately come to his rescue after he was shot. He took him to the St. Elizabeth Hospital but few hours later he died. Romy’s body was taken to the Labajo Funeral Homes.

Romy had suffered gunshot wound to the back of his head that also pierced through his forehead. A slug from .45 caliber pistol had been recovered from the crime scene.

Romy’s family was clueless to what could have been the attacker’s motive or reasons of killing him.

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Kill all criminals – Mayors

Apart from mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City, more and more local chief executives have now been openly endorsing the killing of criminals.

This trend of either justifying or impliedly giving acquiescence to kill allege criminal and all crime offenders have now also become the trend in General Santos City and Digos City, the cities which are also facing continuing incidents of killings of alleged criminals.

In March 28, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in Hong Kong has criticized the action of Pedro Acharon Jr., mayor of General Santos, for justifying the killings of alleged criminals as being perpetrated by their own group.

It expresses concern over Acharon’s statement as seriously undermining the fundamental of due process and obligation of the State for the protection of one person’s right against arbitrary deprivation of life.

Meanwhile, in April 21, mayor Arsenio Latasa of Digos City has openly endorses killing of criminals following the unabated incidents of robberies in his city.

He was quoted to have said publised in Sun.Star Davao: “Dili na ni madala og komedya-komedya, buot ipasabot nga kun kinahanglang patyon, patyon na. Wa man gihapo’y pulos ning mga tawhana kay puro kawatan man ni (sic)” (We could no longer take this as a joke. It means that if we need to kill them (criminals), kill them. They are useless anyway since they are all robbers.

The AHRC has since criticized these Mayors’ actions, particularly Duterte, in their previous statement regarding this issue.

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The impotence of the Manila coup

The short-lived revolt in Manila last week, led by a soldier-turned-senator, will be added to the Philippines’ history of dozens of coup attempts since democracy was restored in 1986. All of these military-led attempted coups were crushed.

Unlike the recent soldier-led coup, the uprising that ousted President Joseph Estrada in January 2001, under allegations of massive corruption, was led by the people. Estrada was convicted for plunder earlier this year.

The notion that Estrada’s ouster would eventually put an end to corruption, and that new leadership with high moral ascendancy would take his place, has unfortunately not occurred. Years later, the new leadership has failed to improve the lives of Filipinos and to provide meaningful change.

Many believe that the present administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is even “worse” than Estrada’s, with the current government facing serious allegations of corruption amid a deteriorating human rights record that pushes the Filipino people to the depths of frustration. Some Filipinos living and working abroad even maintain that life was better previously.

However, the country’s long history of military coups and People Power activism undoubtedly demonstrates that deep-rooted and systemic problems cannot be solved merely by a change of leadership. No attempt by soldiers to take power or topple the civilian government can succeed in addressing the problems underlying the coup attempt.

This claim is not a theory but a reality based on years of experience by Filipinos themselves. The call for meaningful change begins from the people who suffer and are directly affected by the country’s depressing conditions — not by soldiers espousing coups and soldiers-turned-politicians who face criminal charges in court. Change is not effected by replacing a condemned leader with a new one, be it because of mere dislike or dissatisfaction with the current leader, nor does it happen overnight.

Meaningful change develops over time by strengthening the basic institutions of the country, including the police, judiciary and other civilian institutions. These institutions have the constitutional right and duty to provide practical solutions to practical problems. Such solutions will not materialize through empty rhetoric by soldiers or coup leaders who claim their actions are based on the “people’s mandate.”

Thinking they can decide the fate of the Filipino people based on their own judgment is not only an insult to the people’s intellect but reflects complete disrespect for the country’s institutions and the people’s right to take part in the country’s affairs. Any attempt to weaken or dismantle the country’s basic institutions through coups, mutinies or other illegal acts, without the consent of the people directly affected by these actions, is a threat to democracy.

It is a fact that there is widespread discontent within the country. However, discontent should be expressed according to the law and by nonviolent means unless there is no space for lawful action and the government is irrationally consuming the people’s lives.

If deep frustrations justify illegal and violent action, then Burma’s democratic leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi undoubtedly has the right to resort to violence. Yet after many years of incarceration and tremendous abuses inflicted on her people by the military junta, she remains resilient in pushing her cause, and has earned worldwide sympathy and understanding. Indeed, her detention has become a symbol of both oppression and hope for democracy in Burma.

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Video as element of crime

In this article “DoJ chief: PNP can’t force ABS-CBN to give raw video, the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed had it not because of the video footages of television station covering the standoff at a Makati hotel, they would have not been able to file charges of rebellion and inciting to rebellion against those supposedly involved.

As they continue their investigation, they sent subpoena to media institutions, particularly the ABS-CBN, who has video footages that could help help in identifying those civilians involved. The police made it clear in their statement;

“We could not have charged the civilians without the ANC footages. The reason why there were 14 who were released, it’s because these 14 did not appear in the footages,” Virgilio Pablico, CIDG chief legal officer

It’s clear. The civilians who have been charged for rebellion are seen in the video, and those who were not seen were off the hook. In filing of their complaint, presumably those video footages taken by television stations are given heavy weight in determining that there was supposedly an element of crime of “rebellion”.

Okay, if it is so, does it mean that the television journalists who are reporting the events are as perhaps could be held for rebellion because they are in the video? How about the person who’s taking the video, is his/her presence at the scene though not seen in the video also be liable for rebellion? Does it prove conspiracy either?

So, if video footages should be given weight in determining the element of crime, why not include the passersby, jeepney drivers, onlookers, or even the police and military themselves who are seen in the area assaulting the hotel. Or, the stunned hotel staffs and guest who are running out of the hotel for fear of their life?

This mental reasoning by the chief of the police’ investigating body reflect how completely irrational if not lunatic the police are in investigating cases. The manner of their investigation was worst; they ignore the witnesses or circumstances that could have strengthen their case present in their area. What they are telling us: without the video we can’t do anything, and this “coup” plotters would escape from law.

Putting persons accountable for the criminal acts is of course their duty, but the manner that should have been taken in establishing whether or not a person would be held accountable for violating the penal code should also be according to lawful and rational principles. This was not the case though.

Instead, even during the aftermath of the standoff, what they did was to arrest all those inside the hotel altogether–never mind whether those arresting them had personal knowledge or had witnessed of a crime had been committed under the criminal procedures on rules of warrant less arrest–which instead resulted to the arrest of journalists covering the standoff.

In your country, do police do this and is the process of determining an element of crime in filing charges was also done in this way?

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Suicidal broadcast journalism

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In this report, radio announcer Allan Sison of Dagupan City was attacked and wounded during an attempt made on his life.

The police quickly ruled out the attempt on him as related to his work as broadcast journalist. Allan host a program which deals with radio counseling. He is known as “Dr. Heart”.

Until the police are not able to establish by way of thorough investigation who are responsible for the attempt on his life, Allan should have been given adequate protection and assistance. The police’ duty should have been to investigate, identify and help prosecute those responsible. This however did not adequately takes place.

Their premature pronouncement that the attempt on Allan’s life is more likely not related to his work, does not help. Whether or not the attempt was related to his work, it doesn’t proved anything, nor justify that less priority should be given to his case. It instead classify him as second class citizen if it is so.

To deny Allan and even other persons, adequate investigation and assistance they require, for mere reasons that their case are not likely part of the unabated attacks against journalist in recent times, deprives them equal protection by the law.

This illustrates though the gravity of the problem and insecurity journalist in the country had long been facing–for instance in this case, even journalist not involve in political or critical issues, are being targeted, not only once but twice so far this year. But no action have so far been taken to ensure his safety though.

The trouble with community broadcast journalism in the Philippines is that they are forced to take matters regarding security upon themselves. Seeking protection and escort for journalist facing threats or been attacked is either impossible or nonexistent.

A number of journalist are already arming themselves and have had security escorts. But even those who already have arms, like Jun Pala of Davao City, were never spared. To live a life rife with fear and threats is no longer normal, yet Pala, and other journalists there continues to do so.

That is even more worst for idealistic and committed journalist who are critical of wrongdoings by the government officials, police and military yet could not afford to have security arrangement. Like what had happened to a friend of mine, Ely Benoya. This condition have so far been proven fatal.

What is sad is while community journalists speaks critical of the wrongdoings, they are in fact putting their own selves to greater danger of being attack. Yet, despite this condition they could not even obtain any security arrangement or assistance from the authorities–even on case where attempts are already made.

I knew few friends working in local radio only earning about Php7,000 (USD 160) a month. His was even bigger because he’s employed by an established company. Other radio announcers don’t even have their fixed monthly salary. Their income depends on the commission depending on the amount of commercial placement they could generate into their own radio stations. Others even work as volunteers and are getting only small allowances. Obviously, they are even struggling to support their own more so of ensuring their own safety.

The police’ dealing on cases involving journalist if this is allowed to continue, at it has been going on, would have irreversible consequences for the community journalism in the country. It is a sad reality that community journalist are targeted by attacks; yet the authorities who are to protect them are refusing to take full responsibility. The journalist are left on their own. It’s suicidal journalism. It’s a fact of life.

Photo by NUJP – blogger

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