By Aaron Recuenco
Police investigators have found some lapses in the conduct of an anti-illegal drugs operations in Rodriguez town of Rizal that led to the death of a three-year-old girl last month.
Col. Joseph Arguelles, head of the regional investigation and detection unit of the CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) regional police, said their findings could lead to the filing of both administrative and criminal charges against some of the policemen who participated in the operation.
“We are still waiting for the final results of the ballistics examinations and other tests done in connection with this. But there lapses seen and these will serve as the bases for the filing of the charges, both administrative and criminal,” Arguelles told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.
Police conducted the operation on June 29 near the house of Renato Dolorfina and another alleged drug pusher. The drug bust, however, went awry and it resulted in the gun battle.
During the gunfight, police claimed that Dolorfina took her daughter Myca and used her as a human shield, a story contradicted by the mother and other witnesses.
Police Senior Sergeant Conrad Cabigao also died during the shootout.
CALABARZON regional police director Brig. Gen. Edward Carranza ordered the relief of the 20 policemen who took part in the operation, including the chief of police of Rodriguez town.
All the firearms of those who participated in the operation were subjected to ballistics examination to determine which firearms the bullet that killed the girl came from.
“Probably in one or two days, we will be able to obtain the final results of the examinations conducted and these will be used in the filing of the cases,” said Arguelles.
The official said that he could not yet determine how many cops would be slapped with criminal and administrative charges since their findings are yet to be validated by the ballistics examinations and other tests.
General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said that not all of the policemen could be criminally held liable since some of them only secured the area.
“As I have said earlier, if irregularities were found or if there are any abuses, we do not tolerate that in order to prevent the repeat of this incident,” said Albayalde.