Cebu News

To Determine Cause Of Death: Autopsy for cop punching victim

- Ferliza C. Contratista -

Only an autopsy can determine whether 78-year-old Donnie Noel really died as a result of a punch he received from PO1 Christian Penafiel inside the Ronda police station last July 25 and that is what the police intends to do.

Cebu provincial police director Superintendent Carmelo Valmoria said police regional crime laboratory medico legal officer Nestor Satur will perform the autopsy on Noel anytime before his scheduled burial on August 9.

Meanwhile, Penafiel, who has been relieved of his duties as member of the provincial mobile group assigned in Ronda as a result of the incident, has been given until tomorrow, Monday, to report to the provincial security and services group where he has been temporarily assigned or he will be declared AWOL.

Noel died four days after sustaining a punch from Penafiel but the official death certificate issued by Ronda municipal health officer Nicolas Nicdao said the cause of death was a sudden heart attack.

Nicdao, however, is puzzled because records at the municipal health center showed Noel to have suffered only mild hypertension.

He suggested that the circumstances surrounding the punching incident four days earlier could have triggered a chain of events that led to the death of Noel by heart attack.

Nevertheless, Nicdao said the best way to properly determine the exact cause of his death is to have the body subjected to an autopsy.

He said the punching incident appeared to greatly disturbed Noel and he had been asking people for advice on what to do.

His family said they are determined to press charges against Penafiel.

Ronda Mayor Esteban Sia, who visited Valmoria in his office, said Noel went to the police station on the night of July 25 to accompany his son 33-year-old son Russel, who was the subject of an armed person complaint.

As Russel was being questioned by police Inspector Allan Miranda, an allegedly intoxicated Penafiel arrived, along with PO1 Leo Susvilla, and reportedly started beating up the suspect.

On seeing his son being beaten up by Penafiel, Noel came forward and tried to intervene but he got a punch to the jaw instead and fell.

Four days later, Noel was dead, a heavy contusion marking the spot where the policeman’s fist landed.

Nicdao said he examined Noel immediately after the incident and found a slight swelling on the right jaw. He examined the jaw again the next day but no longer found the contusion, only a little swelling. Noel complained only of a slight difficulty in eating.

On the morning of the fourth day, Nicdao again examined Noel and saw the swelling was hardly noticeable anymore. Later that day, Noel went to see Mayor Sia to finalize his affidavit for the case he was filing against Penafiel.

That night, Nicdao was hurriedly summoned to the home of Noel. The man reportedly suffered a heart attack.

Nicdao said he tried to revive Noel but his pupils were already dilated when he got there and that the man no longer had a pulse.

A few hours after the attack, Nicdao said a contusion covering a large part of the jaw of Noel was becoming evident.

He explained that “ When one is hurt, the blood vessels try to heal themselves and so there were no gray or black parts. But when one is already dead, there is no more blood flow, and it dwells into the injured area, thus displaying the contusion. “

Noel was described as a hardworking man who tended a carenderia with his wife after both of them retired as public school teachers.










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