DESCRIBING them as “utak criminal,” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Friday said he has signed the dismissal papers of two young policemen who made it appear that their colleague had committed suicide during their drinking spree although an investigation showed that it was a murder case.
The top cop said Corporals Sherwin Rebot and Harold Mendoza were found guilty of administrative charges for grave misconduct in connection with the killing of their colleague, Cpl. Higinio Wayan whom they initially claimed to have killed himself during initial questioning by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).
According to Eleazar, Rebot was found guilty of grave misconduct for murder, violation of Presidential Decree 1829 or obstruction of justice, simple irregularity in the performance of duty for loafing, less grave neglect of duty for drinking while on duty and conduct unbecoming of a police officer.
On the other hand, Mendoza was found guilty of grave misconduct for drinking while on duty, loafing and conduct unbecoming of a police officer.
Both were tagged in the killing of Wayan, their colleague at the Police Security and Protection Group, said the PNP chief.
“Ang pagkakasibak sa serbisyo ng dalawang pulis na ito ay patunay na papanagutin natin ang sinumang pulis na lumabag sa batas,” Eleazar said.
“May this serve as a warning to all police officers that I will not let this kind of incident pass. Dahil lang sa pagsuway sa patakaran na bawal uminom habang naka-duty, humantong ito sa pagpatay ng inyong kabaro. Walang puwang sa PNP ang mga utak kriminal,” the PNP chief stressed.
The initial account of the incident was that the three cops were in a drinking spree when Wayan took Rebot’s gun and shot himself in the chest. Mendoza claimed he was sleeping when it happened while Rebot said he was in the comfort room.
However, a thorough probe conducted by the QCPD headed by Brigadier Gen. Antonio C. Yarra showed Wayan had not fired a gun as the paraffin test on his body yielded negative result for gunpowder nitrate.
A civilian suspect, driver Lorenzo Lapay, later admitted during the investigation that Rebot had killed Wayan over an arm wrestling match loss.
Rebot and Mendoza were also slapped with criminal charges. Rebot has been charged for murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, while Mendoza was charged for murder by conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
“When our Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit conducted a deeper investigation of the case, suspect Lapay sensed that he could not get away to what really transpired and he confessed that PCpl. Wayan was shot by PCpl. Rebot,” Yarra said.
“Lapay further averred that PCpl Rebot and the victim had an arm wrestling while PCpl Harold Mendoza was resting,” the QCPD director added.
Lapay earlier claimed that during their drinking spree, Wayan took the gun of Rebot which was allegedly left on the table, pointed it at his chest and pulled the trigger which resulted in his death.