For those of you who are not familiar with the United Paranaque Subdivision shootout where 16 people were killed including civilians, here are some of the news stories on the incident.
So, no one shot dead Jun de Vera?
January 08, 2009 04:55:00
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—For the widow Lilia de Vera, nothing of consequence was emerging from Wednesday’s resumption of the public hearing being conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to determine accountability for the deaths of Alfonso “Jun” de Vera, their 7-year-old daughter and four other civilians.
Not one of the leaders of the police units would admit to having been assigned in the area where her loved ones were found dead.
“So no one killed my husband and child,” she said, dismay in her voice and tears in her eyes.
De Vera was killed in a police operation in Parañaque City last Dec. 5 while crouching beside a parked jeepney by a man who could only be a cop, according to an eyewitness.
Hilario Indiana, a resident of United Parañaque Subdivision and a former vice mayor of a Nueva Ecija town, recounted the killing of De Vera.
Indiana testified that he had asked the police operatives for the identity of the dead man on the street.
“They told me it was one of the robbers. But I couldn’t keep still, so I asked my household help to check the plate number of the vehicle that was shot at. When I heard the plate number, I knew it was Jun and his daughter,” Indiana said in Filipino.
He added that earlier that night, he, De Vera and some of their friends had played “tong-its,” a popular card game.
But police officials practically cleared their men of responsibility for the civilian deaths.
But for CHR Chair Leila de Lima, the police units were being “cooperative” despite the disturbing points raised at the hearing.
“We have no reason to complain except that insofar as the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) is concerned, it seems there’s some ‘dribbling’ going on,” she said.
De Lima noted that among the police units involved in the operation, it was the HPG that was nearest to the scene where De Vera’s body and vehicle, an Isuzu Crosswind, were found.
Chief Supt. Leocadio Santiago Jr., director of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF), testified that all 18 SAF officers were stationed only on Sampaguita Street near the office that the Waray-Waray and Ozamiz groups had purportedly planned to rob that night.
Senior Supt. Jaime Calungsod, the director of the Southern Police District, also said his men were not assigned in the area.
Capt. Christopher Ciubal, who represented Capt. Antonio Habulan, the commander of the Naval Intelligence and Security Force (NISF), said that while the NISF had fielded agents for the operation, they only covertly monitored the events.
‘May bata pala!’
This was how Indiana recounted the turn of events in his testimony:
He was at a store when the shooting broke out, and as he ducked, he saw an Isuzu Crosswind turning back from the scene.
He heard men’s voices shouting in Filipino, “It’s turning back! Flatten the tires!”
A hail of bullets followed.
Indiana saw a man carrying a child get out of the vehicle and crawl toward a parked jeepney, apparently to seek cover.
Shouting again erupted in Filipino: “He’s trying to get away!”
Then he saw two to three men in black uniforms and bonnets appear from Waling-Waling Street and rush toward the crouching man.
One of them shot the man.
Shouting erupted again, this time about a child that had to be taken to hospital: “May bata pala! Dalhin sa ospital ang bata!”
A white vehicle appeared and the child was loaded into it.
Indiana said that while he “clearly saw” how the man was shot by uniformed agents, he had no idea it was his friend De Vera because it was dark.
But he said he was certain that only policemen were in the area because he saw some of them earlier that night.
Indiana also said he did not see a white Toyota Revo in the area before, during and after the shooting. This was a crucial point for the CHR because a police after-battle report submitted to the commission said it was the purported robbers aboard this vehicle who had shot at the De Veras.
“Maybe we’re close to determining the group that shot the De Veras, but not the individual who shot Mr. De Vera. The big, big question is: Where did the white Toyota Revo in the after-battle report come from?” De Lima said.
Also at the hearing, a doctor of the National Bureau of Investigation testified that the body of civilian Bernard Tuncab bore blunt-force injuries and bruises on the face as well as signs of brain hemorrhage, but no gunshot wounds.
Maritess Tuncab had asked the CHR in a letter to look into her husband’s death.
She expressed the belief that he was picked up, tortured, killed, dumped in the area, and was not, as the police had claimed, hit by the robbers’ speeding getaway vehicle.
Bullets in 2 areas
Chief Supt. Arturo Cacdac Jr., director of the PNP Crime Laboratory, also testified that a ballistics test showed that bullets from the .45 cal. service pistol of PO1 Elybeer Cayaban was found in the area where the De Veras’ bodies lay and in the portion of the South Superhighway where another civilian and a suspected robber were shot dead.
Cayaban is among the nine HPG members recommended by the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) for administrative charges, including grave misconduct, neglect of duty and “possible violation of human rights,” for failing to protect civilians during the operation.
But De Lima noted that Cayaban’s name was not among the list submitted to the CHR of policemen present at the scene.
Cacdac said it had yet to be explained how bullets from one firearm were found in crime scenes hundreds of meters apart.
De Lima said the request of the SAF and the HPG for a closed-door session might be granted.
Rules of engagement
With IAS inspectors finding that lapses were committed on Dec. 5, the PNP reiterated its call for strict compliance with rules of engagement.
Director Leopoldo Bataoil, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, raised four rules for anticrime units to faithfully follow to prevent civilian deaths during police operations.
“[The rules are] actually there in our police operational procedure, but just the same, we need to improve on those concerns,” Bataoil said at a briefing.
He also called for the strengthening of the PNP’s crime scene investigation, and said operation areas must be preserved for complete collection of evidence.
With a report from Tarra Quismundo
Policemen in shoot-out case grounded
12/12/2008 | 06:09 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) Thursday grounded policemen involved in a bloody shoot-out last week, and at the same time cleared a slain civilian suspect.
Director Jaime L Tagaca, chief of the Internal Administrative Services, told a press conference in the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City that 49 policemen in the Parañaque operation against two robbery groups have been grounded pending an ongoing investigation.
"We have already directed the director of Special Action Force, Highway Patrol Group and Southern Police District to place all personnel who are involved in the operations on restricted status," Mr. Tagaca said.
Involved police officers may face criminal and administrative charges once proven guilty of reckless imprudence, Mr. Tagaca said.
He said they have cleared Ronaldo R. Eusebio of involvement. Eusebio was among the 16 people killed during the encounter between the police and Waray-Waray Gang and Ozamis robbery groups in United Parañaque Subdivision 4 on Dec. 5.
The other civilians killed during the incident include a seven-year-old girl and her father, a security guard and two other civilians sleeping in a parked truck near the encounter scene.
"The groups neutralized by our operatives were two of the most dreaded syndicates which the PNP has neutralized so far. We cannot yet ascertain the number of robbery incidents, which they have perpetrated. Let us not make premature conclusions that our police force is not professional," Mr. Tagaca said. - BusinessWorld
Napolcom says police operatives erred in Parañaque shootout
December 11, 2008 6:46 pm by pna
MANILA, Dec. 11 — The National Police Commission (Napolcom) said on Thursday that police operatives made a mistake when they failed to cordon off the scene of the bloody shootout with armed robbers in Parañaque City last week.
Citing initial findings by its eight-man fact-finding task force, Napolcom Vice Chairman Eduardo Escueta said that the police did not set up a barricade or "blocking force" at the rear gate of United Parañaque Subdivision (UPS) 4 that could have prevented the robbers from entering.
"We went to the site and interviewed witnesses and it turned out that the blocking force was only at the entrance of the subdivision, but there was none at the back," Escueta said.
The Napolcom official said that had the scene been isolated, innocent civilians would not have gone astray and unnecessarily harmed. Among those caught in the crossfire were a father and his seven-year-old daughter who were killed while passing in the area in their van.
Escueta pointed out that ground commanders should have anticipated all the possible problems and ensure that their men knew what to do, come what may.
"It should have been part of their operational plans, to make sure that all measures are in place to prevent civilian casualties," he stressed.
But Escueta clarified that they would still have to wait for the Philippine National Police's (PNP) initial report on the incident before making their official findings by next week.
When asked to comment on the police's supposed lapses, Chief Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, said they respected the statement of the fact-finding team.
Bataoil also attributed the lack of an effective blocking force to the fall of the ground commander, Supt. Eleuterio Gutierrez of PNP-Highway Patrol Group, during the gun battle. Gutierrez was shot in head and is still fighting for his life.
"In any operation, it is the responsibility of the commanders on the ground to make sure that innocent civilians are first taken out of harm's way. In this particular case, Superintendent Gutierrez was hit," Bataoil told reporters at the Makati City Hall.
"Whatever happened there, whatever the commanders' judgement calls were, it should be investigated and explained. But right now Superintendent Gutierrez, who is in the position to explain everything, is in the hospital," Bataoil said.
The shootout in UPS 4 last Friday night left 12 suspected robbers, three civilians, and a policeman dead. The high civilian casualty rate led to the creation of the Napolcom fact-finding team, as well as investigations from other bodies, including the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). (PNA)
Read More...... Read more!