By Aaron Recuenco
The top police official of Quezon province was sacked from his post over the death of the son of Sariaya town mayor in an alleged clash with policemen in Tayabas town last week.
The relief of Senior Supt. Osmundo de Guzman came after he ordered the relief of three policemen who conducted the operation and the chief of police of Tayabas town for command responsibility.
In an order dated March 19, the memorandum signed by Police Director Lyndon Cubos ordered the relief of de Guzman and the designation of his replacement, Senior Supt. Joseph Arguelles.
“The CPNP (Chief PNP) shall have the power to direct and control tactical as well as strategic movements, deployment, placement utilization of the PNP or any of its units and personnel,” the memorandum said.
PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Bernard Banac said the relief of de Guzman will pave the way for an impartial investigation on the death of 21-year old Christian Tronila Gayeta, son of Sariaya Mayor Marcelo Gayeta.
“This is to give way to an impartial investigation, and of course, to give all parties the time and opportunity to explain their side. The PNP welcomes the investigation on personnel involved in this case,” said Banac.
On Monday, De Guzman issued a press statement ordering the relief of Supt. Mark Joseph Laygo, chief of police of Tayabas; PO3 Christopher John Siman, PO1 Perry Malabaguio and PO1 William Allan Ricamonte.
The reason cited by De Guzman in relieving the four policemen was the same reason cited by the PNP leadership in removing him as director of the Quezon Provincial Police Office.
It will be recalled that at around 4 a.m. on March 14, the Tayabas Police Station received a text message from the attendant of a gasoline station in Barangay Baguio about two motorcycle-riding men who allegedly threatened one of their pump attendants.
One of them allegedly even ordered the gasoline attendant to kneel and threatened to kill him. The gunman allegedly fired twice at the gasoline attendant but it did not hit him.
Policemen chased after the two motorcycle-riding men and based on the report from the Tayabas police, it resulted in the brief gunfight that resulted in the death of the two.
One of the alleged suspects later turned out to be the son of the mayor of Sariaya.
Recovered during the operation were four fired cartridge cases of 9mm pistol, a metal fragment, a fired cartridge case of .45 pistol, one fired cartridge case .22 caliber, a red motorcycle with no license plate, a yellow orange neon motorcycle helmet two cellular phones, a holster, a black bag, a black leather wallet containing assorted IDs bearing the name of a certain Christopher Ilagan Manalo, a twenty peso bill, a violet disposable lighter, a fossil silver wristwatch and three silver rings.
Based on the Tayabas police report, they recovered from “Suspect 1” a .45 pistol ARMSCOR with Serial Number TCMO27641 with inserted magazine loaded with one cartridge and three magazine loaded with 13 cartridges.
While recovered from “Suspect 2” were a .22 pistol with Serial Number 118174 with one cartridge chamber load and one magazine containing three cartridges.
“However, two permit to carry (PTC) firearms outside of residence IDs appeared with the same identity which was registered in Suspect 1’s name and was the same PTC recovered from Suspect 2,” the report read.
“The Tayabas City Police Station requested for autopsy examination and paraffin examination on both hands of the alleged suspects as well as firearms identification on the recovered firearms at the crime scene,” a statement from Quezon police read.
The family of Sariaya Mayor has already filed a complaint regarding the incident.
While they welcome the investigation, Banac said they presume the operation to have been done in the manner prescribed by the police operational procedures.
“At the outset, we consider that the operation conducted was done with regularity. We believe that our personnel followed the rules of engagement and they made proper report to what transpired during the incident,” said Banac.
“If there will be an investigation, I believe the family has filed a complaint, we welcome it because any allegation of wrongdoing or violation of rules of engagement, we do not tolerate these illegal acts or wrongdoings if ever committed by our personnel,” he stressed.