By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has invited the relatives of the slain driver of election lawyer Glenn Chong to participate in the conduct of investigation on the administrative charges filed against at least 18 policemen in connection with the controversial police operation in Rizal last month.
This, as some netizens continue to attack the police with regard to the death of Richard Santillan by accusing the PNP of deliberately “silencing” him.
Chief Supt. Edward Carranza, director of the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) regional police, said the move is to do away with speculations of whitewash in the conduct of the probe regarding the death of Santillan and Gessamyn Casing.
“I invite the family of Mr. Richard Santillan and Ms Gessamyn Casing including their respective counsels to participate in the investigation being conducted by the Regional Internal Affairs Service (Calabarzon PNP),” said Carranza.
“This police unit is an independent investigating body which has the motu proprio power to determine if there were violations committed during the incident by our operatives,” he added.
Chong and his allies, it was recalled, were questioning the operation that led to the death of Santillan, saying it could be a deliberate act connected on the alleged election-rigging during the 2016 presidential elections.
But Carranza denied the allegation, saying that they did not know Santillan and his link with Chong before the operation was conducted.
Carranza said the operation stemmed from an intelligence report that the vehicle being driven by Santillan was frequently seen fetching an alleged leader of a carnapping and drug syndicate group operating in the eastern part of Metro Manila.
When the cops again chanced upon the vehicle, Carranza said those inside the car opened fire at the policemen manning the checkpoint. This led to a shootout and eventually killed Santillan and Casing.
As Chong and his allies started raising questions, Carranza had ordered the relief of 18 cops who participated in the operation.
Carranza said he is hoping that the relatives of Santillan and Casing would cooperate as this would be the opportunity for them to observe the proceedings.
“The Regional IAS is currently in the process of summary dismissal proceedings, identifying liabilities and determining the pieces of evidence that will warrant the filing of criminal or administrative charges if proven that there was indeed negligence on the part of our policemen,” said Carranza.
Carranza has repeatedly denied that the death of Santillan has something to do with Chong’s alleged knowledge on poll-rigging.
He appealed to spare the PNP, particularly his men, from partisan politics and for any political mileage.
Chong is running for senator.
“In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, I encourage their families to join us,” said Carranza.