PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar has ordered a thorough investigation into the death of a wood chopper in Marinduque who was gunned down right in front of his son by a local policeman who claimed that he was forced to fire at the victim when he started attacking him with a bolo.
“Nakarating sa aking kaalaman ang paghingi ng tulong ng isa sa ating mga kababayan tungkol sa sinapit ni Alberto delos Reyes na di umano’y pinatay ng isang nagpakilalang isang pulis sa harap mismo ng kanyang anak,” said the PNP chief.
“Agad nating inatasan ang Regional Director ng PRO4-B, si Police Brig. Gen. Nelson Bondoc, na magsagawa ng malalimang imbestigasyon dito upang alamin kung ano ba talaga ang nangyari,” he added.
Based on the complaint lodged by Janmart Hernandez Lacdao in his Faceboolk account, delos Reyes was asked to chop some woods in Sitio Pag-asa in Barangay Bagtingon, Buenavista, Marinduque last Friday when a man who allegedly identified himself as a policeman arrived and repeatedly shot him.
Delos Reyes died on the spot as a result of the shooting.
Gen. Eleazar said his action is part of his policy of attending to the complaints and request for assistance through the social media platforms. Facebook is one of the platforms being used in receiving complaints and request for assistance through the PNP’s E-Sumbong program.
The PNP chief said the policeman involved would be held accountable for the incident if it would be proven that he really committed a mistake in killing the victim/
“Kailanman ay hindi natin hinayaan at pinagtakpan ang pang-aabuso sa ating mga kababayan mula sa aming hanay. Kung talagang pulis nga ang may gawa nito, makakaasa ang pamilya na papanagutin natin siya,” said the top cop.
“Right now, I am asking to let the investigation takes its course. Sa ngalan ng hustisya, makakaasa ang pamilya ni Alberto delos Reyes na personal kong tutukan ang kasong ito,” he said while ordering Bondoc to ensure the safety of the 10-year old son of the victim since he is a witness to the crime.
Brig. Gen. Bondoc said that an initial report forwarded to him by the Marinduque Police Provincial Office showed that at around 10:30 a.m. last Friday, members of the Buenavista Municipal Police Station led by Corporal Jay Anthony Custodio conducted an anti-illegal logging operation in Sitio Pag-asa following an information from a concerned citizen.
The Marinduque police said that upon arrival at the area, the officers saw a group of men actually cutting coconut trees. After seeing the lawmen, the men scampered towards different directions triggering a chase.
The local police said that de los Reyes, who was armed with a 12-inch long bolo was about to be cornered by the policemen when he allegedly attacked Cpl. Custodio prompting the latter to shoot him repeatedly.
The man suffered several gunshot wounds in the body and died on the spot. Custodio was unhurt in the incident.
Bondoc said that following the shooting incident, he ordered the administrative relief of Buenavista police officer-in-charge, Lieutenant Marson Lontoc and Cpl. Custodio. Both were also placed under restrictive custody by their superior officer.
Bondoc said an investigating team from the Marinduque PPO led by Major Marlon Hernandez was created to determine if there were lapses committed by the local policemen resulting in the killing of de los Reyes.
He added that Custodio’s service firearm was confiscated and turned over to the Marinduque Crime Laboratory Office for ballistics examination. The cop was also ordered subjected to a paraffin test.
Bondoc said that the son of de los Reyes is now under the custody of the Buenavista Municipal Social Welfare and Development office while local policemen were instructed to provide security to the family of the victim.
The Mimaropa police director said he will personally supervise the investigation and will ensure that those who committed errors during the conduct of the anti-illegal logging operation will be charged criminally and administratively if evidence warrants.