Napolcom starts probe into death of 2 rape suspects

THE National Police Commission (Napolcom) has formed a special task force to look into the alleged summary execution of two rape suspects at the Manila Police District (MPD) headquarters on Tuesday.

Napolcom Vice Chairman and Executive Officer Eduardo Escueta said the creation of the task force is part of their stepped-up efforts to investigate the incident, primarily to determine if there was indeed a “scuffle” as claimed by the policemen.

“The task force has gone to the MPD to look at the bottom of the case. This constitutes possible grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty,” Escueta said.

Earlier, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) raised serious doubts about the deaths of Roderick Soliveres, 28, and Cecilio Bacolo Jr., 19, at the homicide section of the MPD headquarters Tuesday night.

Both suspects have been arrested for the rape-slay of a seven-year-old girl in Sta. Mesa, Manila Friday last week.

As part of the due process, Escueta said Napolcom investigators would get the statement of SPO1 Ramil Dimaguiba and PO3 Rodel Benitez.

If there is sufficient evidence against them, Escueta said both policemen face dismissal from the service.

“We cannot conclude yet what really happened there. We have to be careful about this investigation so as not to unnecessarily compromise our policemen,” the Napolcom official said.

Asked about the rules of engagement in cases where a suspect in custody puts the life of his captor at risk, Escueta said custodial officers should be careful in using deadly force to repel an aggression.

“They should first at least try to subdue the suspect, either by a punch or by simply overpowering him,” he said, adding the use of deadly force should be the last resort.

But Escueta admitted there is a thin line that divides what is “reasonable force” and “beyond reasonable force.”

Nevertheless, the official said it should be engrained to every policeman that dealing with criminal suspects in custody is governed by a set of rules, and this is taught to all police personnel during basic training.

He assured, however, that there will be no whitewash in the case. The Napolcom, he added, never tolerated summary execution-style of crime suspects in dealing justice.

The deaths of Soliveres and Bacolo took place just more than a month after a Chinese national, Gong Shu Yang, was killed during a supposed scuffle with his policemen escorts.

The Chinese suspect was facing murder charges after he ran over his girlfriend Zhao Chun Lan. The incident was caught in CCTV. (AH/Sunnex)
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