By Mar Serrano
LEGAZPI CITY – The Commission on Human Rights in Bicol (CHR-5) has issued a resolution asking the National Police Commission here to file long-delayed administrative and criminal charges against four members of the Daraga town police for killing three suspected drug pushers during a drug sting in February 2019 in their town.
The resolution obtained by the Philippine News Agency on Monday said CHR investigators, led by lawyer Laurain Ampongan-Marcaida, found out that Lt. Linus Dominic Lopez, MSgt. Evan Orayan, and Cpls. Christian Verdillo and Annaliza Casulla committed human rights violations during the operations in Barangay Binitayan on February 22, 2019.
It said the Daraga police office was uncooperative in providing official investigation and ballistic examination reports and inventory of evidences seized from the crime scene. Killed in the incident were Pedrito Marco Tibay, 35; Pete John Carlo Rima, 35; and Jeruh Salem Catubig, 37.
Tibay was No. 1 on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) watch list in the town at the time while Catubig was eighth. The police team seized P100,000 worth of suspected shabu in 10 plastic sachets and three .38-caliber pistols.
The report said one of the suspects pulled out his .38-caliber handgun and fired at the police when they sensed that it was a sting operation, forcing the operatives to retaliate. Rima bore multiple gunshot wounds and gunpowder burns, indicating that he was shot at close range, according to the CHR.
CHR said the cops allegedly failed to comply with the three-witness rule, where three witnesses must be secured not only during warrantless arrests and inventory of evidences as provided under Section 21 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Reynaldo Matocino, CHR special investigator, said in a previous press conference that “excessive force” was obviously used during the operation. (PNA)