ANGELES City -- Three police officers here were relieved and charged in connection with the shooting of a Muslim minor last October 4 in Bgy. Balibago, here.
Senior Supt. Enrico Vargas, city police director, identified the three cops as PO1 Aizel Deanne Marie Lopez, PO1 Osmond Rivera, and Chief Insp. Dante Cabungcal.
The three were relieved from their posts at the Police Station 4 and placed under restrictive custody.
Lopez shot Salman Macal, 16, in front of Winds Boutique Hotel on A. Santos St., Bgy. Balibago at around 6 p.m. on Oct. 4 while she and PO1 Osmond Rivera were accosting the minor after he tried to avoid their mobile patrol.
In the spot report prepared by Cabungcal, he said that his subordinates saw Macal and another male at a dim portion of A. Santos Street and when they spotted the police mobile patrol, they started their respective motorcycles’ engines and “sped off hurriedly.” He said the two cops were able to block the path of Macal and when the lawmen were about to approach him, he pulled out a gun and squeezed the trigger but only a click sound was heard.
Cabungcal added in the report that Macal again attempted to squeeze the trigger, prompting Lopez, who sensed that her life was in danger, to shoot Macal.
Lopez and Rivera repeated their superior’s claim in their complaint affidavit filed to the City Prosecutor’s Office here after charging Macal with attempted homicide, illegal possession of firearm and violation of gun ban.
But in the case filed yesterday by Macal’s mother, Kayasama Pundato at the city prosecutor’s office, she belied the claims of the police officers that her son was armed with a gun. Her testimony was corroborated by four other witnesses in their sworn affidavits.
They said that Lopez was already holding Macal the back of his T-shirt while holding her service pistol in her right hand before the gunshot was heard. Rivera was standing close, acting as Lopez’s back-up, when the shooting took place.
Macal was brought to the hospital. He is still confined as of press time.
Pundato charged Lopez and Rivera with frustrated murder, violation of the law that protects minors, perjury, planting of evidence, and incriminating innocent person. She charged Cabungcal with obstruction of justice.
Vargas said upon hearing about the case, he immediately ordered an investigation into the matter. He ordered his men to secure close circuit television footages from Winds Boutique Hotel, which revealed that Lopez was indeed holding Macal in her left hand and holding a gun in her right hand before the shooting occurred.
“I already asked the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to assist us in the investigation of the case. Gusto nating maging impartial ang imbestigasyon at hindi natin itu-tolerate ang mga pulis natin na mali ang ginawa,” he said.
For his part, Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, Police Regional Office 3 director, already sent a team from the Internal Affairs Service from Camp Olivas to conduct an inquiry into the case. He said the cleansing of the police service from misfits is still ongoing, adding that the Philippine National Police will not condone any wrongdoing of its officers and men.