'Utak kriminal!' Eleazar sacks 2 cops in death of corporal over an arm-wrestling match

Published June 25, 2021, 3:35 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Two policemen were axed in connection with the killing of a police corporal in Quezon City last month due to an arm wrestling match that turned deadly, the Philippine National Police (PNP) bared on Friday, June 25.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. (File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar signed the dismissal orders of Police Corporals Sherwin Rebot and Harold Mendoza for the murder of Police Cpl. Higinio Wayan. All three were members of the Police Security Protection Group (PSPG).

According to Eleazar, Rebot was found guilty of grave misconduct (murder), violation of Presidential Decree 1829 (obstruction of justice), simple irregularity in the performance of duty (loafing), less grave neglect of duty (drinking while on duty), and conduct unbecoming of a police officer for shooting to death victim Wayan.

Meanwhile, Mendoza was found guilty of less grave neglect of duty (drinking while on duty), simple irregularity in the performance of duty (loafing), and conduct unbecoming of a police officer.

Investigations showed that the three cops had a drinking session at the house of their civilian driver, Lorenzo Lapay, in Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City last May 30 when the killing occured.

Initially, Lapay told police investigators that Wayan played with Rebot’s gun when he accidentally shot himself. Rebot claimed he was in the comfort room when this took place, while Mendoza’s alibi was that he was sleeping at that time.

However, a deeper probe showed that a drunk Rebot actually shot Wayan after the suspect lost in an arm wrestling match with the victim.

A paraffin test yielded a negative result for gunpowder nitrates on Wayan, thereby disproving Lapay’s claim. The driver was eventually forced to confess what really transpired in the crime.

“May this serve as a warning to all police officers that I will not let this kind of incident pass. Dahil lang sa pagsuway sa patakaran na bawal uminom habang naka-duty, humantong ito sa pagpatay ng inyong kabaro (A small infraction like drinking liquor while on duty led to the killing of your comrade),” Eleazar said.

“Walang puwang sa PNP ang mga utak kriminal (Criminal-minded cops have no place in the PNP),” Eleazar stressed.

Aside from the administrative sanction of dismissal, Rebot and Mendoza were also slapped with criminal charges.

Rebot was charged for murder, a non-bailable offense; and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, while Mendoza was charged for murder by conspiracy and obstruction of justice.