Fearing police whitewash, family of student shot dead by doctor in Davao City bar wants NBI to probe murder

Published July 7, 2022, 1:33 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The family of Amierkhan Mangacop, a Grade 9 student who was killed by a doctor of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Davao, said they want the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Davao to handle the investigation of the brutal shooting incident as they asked the police to inhibit from the case.

The Mangacop family sent a letter sent to NBI-Davao Director Jonathan Balite, City Prosecution Office chief Jhopee Avanceña, and Inquest Prosecutor Irene Joy Montero Tuesday, July 5, requesting for the transfer of the investigation as they doubted if the police could probe the incident “objectively and fairly” amid the recent “statements and actions” of the police officers favoring the suspect Dr. Marvin Rey Andrew R. Pepino.

Pepino allegedly gunned down the 19-year-old victim following a commotion at Lugar Café and Bar here.

The Mangacop said they demand fair and just investigation and requested the San Pedro Police Station and the PNP-Davao Region to inhibit from the case investigation and to transfer the case files, including those in possession of the PNP Davao Cybercrime Unit for Forensic, to the NBI-Davao “in the interest of the sacred right of the Mangacop family to due process and equal protection.”

They said that they are hesitant to forward to the police the names of witnesses and pieces of evidence for fear of suppression or whitewash.

Pepino, 31, was a doctor employed as a non-uniformed personnel at the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Davao.

The suspect was the son of the late Police Major Gen. Marvin Manuel Pepino who served as director of the Cybercrime Investigation Office of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center.

The family deplored the statement of Police Major Benkalin Baluan, chief of the San Pedro Police Station, made hours after the incident saying it was the victim who mauled Pepino, prompting him to shoot Mangacop “as an act of self-defense.”

DCPO director Police Col. Albert Lupaz, in a press conference Monday, July 4, described Pepino as “very professional and kind and that he has no derogatory record” with PRO-Davao and stated “it was only because of his drunken state that he shot Amierkhan seven times out of self-defense.”

Lupaz said that there would be no special treatment for Pepino and assured the victim’s family of fair and objective investigation.

Mangacop succumbed to seven bullet wounds.

Police filed a complaint for murder and violation of Section 31 of Republic Act (RA) 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, which prohibits the carrying of a licensed firearm outside residence without permit, before the Office of City Prosecution Monday, July 4.

But the Mangacop family alleged that the police investigator during the inquest proceedings deliberately stated that “the Legal Team of the victim refused to include portions of the Affidavit of the Apprehending Officer” when the Mangacop’s counsel only wanted the omission of portions of the affidavit “which would hint at or point to Amierkhan as one of the assailants who unlawfully attacked Pepino – which allegations are untrue, false, and fabricated.”

The family said in a statement published on the Facebook page “Justice for Amier Mangacop” Tuesday, July 5, that the victim was not involved in the commotion at Lugar Café.

The victim came to the bar to pick up his cousin who was afraid to go home alone. Upon arriving at the bar, there was already an ongoing commotion involving other people, including Pepino.

They said “case conferences were created for the purpose of ensuring a strong case for the prosecution and not for the defense.”

“Given the statements and actions of the Davao police officers mentioned, the victim’s family feels that the PNP-Davao Region cannot objectively and fairly continue with the Investigation of the murder case,” the family said.