Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Guillermo Eleazar vowed Wednesday, June 11, that the organization will not coddle the seven police personnel who have been tagged in the March 8 slay of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino.
Eleazar said he already directed the Eastern Visayas Police Regional Office (PRO-8) and the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) to place the implicated PNP personnel under a restrictive custody.
“Haharapin nila ang kasong isinampa sa kanila. Sinisiguro ko po sa inyo na hindi pagtatakpan ng PNP ang mga pulis na umano’y sangkot sa pagpaslang kay Mayor Aquino (They will face the charges filed gainst them. I assure you that the PNP will not tolerate the cops allegedly involved in the killing of Mayor Aquino),” he said.
On Thursday, June 10, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed murder and frustrated murder complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against seven police officers and two individuals who were tagged in the local chief executive’s ambush.
The NBI based its conclusion on 53 statements, closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footages of the incident, and information from the cellphones they had obtained during the ccourse of their investigation.
The respondents in the case were Police Lt. Col. Harry Sucayre; Police Maj. Shyrile Tan; Police Capt. Dino Goles; Police Lt. Julio Armeza Jr.; Police Senior Sgts. Neil Cebu, Edsel Omega; Patrolman Nino Salem; and civilians Julius Garcia and Randy Merelos. A police report said they were members of the IMEG and Samar provincial drug enforcement group (PDEG).
Aquino was shot at least 21 times in Barangay Lonoy, Calbayog City last March 8. Police initially described the incident as a shootout but the NBI ruled in its independent probe that it was an ambush.
Aside from the mayor, six others were also killed in the incident including his driver, security aide, and a civilian.
A whistleblower, Police Master Sgt. Jose Jay Scenario, claimed that Aquino’s political rival had coordinated with PNP personnel to obtain a search warrant against the mayor and tag him as the protector of a policeman involved in the illegal drug trade.
He also alleged that the ambush of the mayor had long been planned.