THE good news that those following the quest for justice for the brutally-murdered Richard ‘Red’ Santillan, is that the DoJ has started its preliminary investigation of the incident based on the complaint against the police-suspects filed by the NBI last May 17.
The Phil. News Agency (PNA), quoting assistant prosecutor Gina Yanga, in its story datelined June 6, 2019, said the DoJ panel had extended the deadline for the suspects to answer the charges against them until June 17.
The deadline was necessary because none of the 23 policemen being complained of, to include RD Edward Carranza, personally appeared to submit their counter-affidavits.
To recall, Santillan, close aide and friend of Atty. Glenn Chong, was tortured before being killed by members of what Atty. Chong described as, Calabarzon’s “CCG” (Carranza Crime Group), composed of active-duty policemen last December 10, 2018. Slain together with Santillan was his companion at the time, Gessamyn Casing.
Ironically, the day they were killed was also International Human Rights Day, when the global community is upholding the importance of human rights that include the call for a stop to extrajudicial killings and torture.
Atty. Glenn had averred that Santillan was killed in order for him to “get the message” that he should drop his campaign exposing the “syndicate” of the Smartmatic and the Comelec in rigging the result of the country’s elections.
The police version claimed the two were killed in a “legitimate police operation” in Cainta, Rizal as both were purportedly members of an alleged criminal gang operating in Rizal and nearby areas.
But then, the forensic investigation made by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the NBI, boosted by accounts of witnesses, belied the police version; other veteran policemen, colleagues of Carranza, even told yours truly that what Carranza and his men were telling the public is just one big “STL” (story-telling a lie).
The brutal details of the twin murders had caused a sensation that just after the New Year celebration, Pres. Duterte issued a statement saying he wants a “fair and objective” investigation of the incident.
Translation? There must not be a whitewash, period, a message that not only gave hope to those shocked by Santillan’s death but also fear and dismay among those behind it.
Ditto, those wishing that justice be served in full to Santillan and Casing are comforted in realizing that there is one “Menardo Guevarra” now on top of the DoJ....
Sec. Guevarra, by all accounts, is really a no-nonsense official in his effort to return the sullied luster of the DoJ’s name and reputation and in making our people believe anew that the rule of law is still front back and center in everything that the DoJ is doing these days.
In its complaint, the NBI named Carranza, Rizal provincial director, Col. Lou Evangelista; and Cainta police chief, Lt. Col. Pablito Naganag, for obstruction of justice.
On the other hand, two counts of murder, and one count of planting of evidence, the PNA report said, were also filed against seven officers from Cainta police station led by Lt. Sandro Ortega, four officers from the provincial office of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group led by Capt. John Russel Barnacha and 10 operatives of Regional Special Operations Unit led by M/Sgt. Rene Eufracio.
I recall that when the infamous ‘Atimonan Massacre’ that victimized 12 people happened last January 6, 2013, it was also the NBI who proved that the policemen involved were again lying thru their teeth as back then, they also claimed it was a “shootout.”
In the aftermath, the highest “casualty” among the policemen to be charged is my good friend, then Calabarzon RD James Melad.
As I was covering the Calabarzon beat at the time and therefore quite familiar about the details of the incident, it came as a shock to me— and to RD James too—that days later, he ended up being relieved and subsequently included in the charge sheet, at least for command responsibility.
And it is only fair that subsequently, the truth came out during the hearings and he was fully vindicated and exonerated simply because, he has nothing to do with that Noynoy Aquino regime- initiated operation.
In the case of RD Carranza, he must really be the “most favorite mistah” of Chief PNP Oscar Albayalde—and his men too—as for six months now after the torture-slay of Santillan and Casing, they are still lounging at their posts—and the NBI cases against them be damned.
Sa Atimonan Massacare, ‘ambilis ng ginawang pagsibak kay RD James kahit wala naman siyang kasalanan pero dito sa Santillan torture-slay, higit anim na buwan na ngayon, si RD Carranza, na inakusahan ng ‘obstruction of justice,’ nasa puwesto pa rin, ahahay!
Yes, the wheel of justice has started to turn for Santillan and Casing, many thanks to the NBI and the DoJ.
But whether it would make a full turn remains to be seen with the PNP and the DILG appearing to give their protective embrace over Carranza and his men. Oh well, this seems to be how things now stand under this government.