Cebu News

4 Talamban cops get commendation

- Ryan Christopher J. Sorote, Gregg Rubio - The Philippine Star

CEBU, Philippines - They may be facing investigation over the death of a suspected robber who allegedly tried to lob a grenade at them in Barangay Talamban last week, but the four Cebu City policemen received commendation yesterday for their act of courage.

Talamban police chief Michael Angelo Beltran, SPO4 Abundio Cabahug, SPO2 Valentino Guevarra, and PO2 Neal Lavizarez received their commendation from Cebu City Police Office director Senior Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe during yesterday’s flag raising ceremony.

Buenafe defended his men from suspicions that they may have summarily executed suspected robber Faustino “Junjun” Navarro, Jr. after the autopsy report reveals that the latter died of a gunshot wound in the head. The police claimed that Navarro died of a grenade blast.

Buenafe said that despite questions of the legitimacy of the operation, he deemed it proper to commend the policemen involved to encourage other police officers to do the same.

He said that based on the pictures presented to him, the injuries of Navarro from the grenade explosion were undeniably serious.

Dr. Nestor Sator, medico legal officer, is of the opinion that the explosion from Navarro’s hand grenade was not enough to cause his immediate death. Buenafe however has yet to receive a copy of the autopsy report. Sator however said there is a possibility that Navarro shot himself.

He explained that the distance of area where the slug was recovered from the victim’s body suggests that Navarro may have shot himself.

After receiving their commendation, the four policemen went straight to the PNP Crime Laboratory to submit their respective service firearm to ballistic examination as part of the ongoing investigation conducted by the Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDMB).

Beltran said they would have been willing to submit themselves to paraffin test to prove that they are innocent but the procedure was no longer feasible because the 72-hour period had already lapsed.

“This is part of our job. We are subjecting ourselves to investigation to clear things up,” Beltran said in Cebuano.

Forensic investigators denied IDMB’s requests for a paraffin test because this can only be effective within 72 hours or three days since the time of the alleged shooting incident.

Insp. Presolo Libato, chief of the firearms identification section of the crime laboratory, said that the 9mm pistol recovered from the victim’s body will also be subjected to ballistic test.

Chief Insp. Bonifacio Garciano, IDMB chief, said that based on the affidavits of the four policemen, none of them fired a shot.

Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has commended the Borbon police for the capture of an escapee from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.

Acting provincial warden Romeo Manansala submitted yesterday to Garcia the report on the arrest of Edison Cabahug last Sunday.

Borbon Police chief Emeliano Igot and his men composed of SPO2 Owen Baticuang, PO2 Bernandino Almeida Jr., and PO1 Aristotle Mondelo captured Cabahug after a chase.

Cabahug was shot in his right foot by the pursuing policemen and was immediately brought to Sogod District Hospital.

CPDRC team recovered Cabahug at the hospital while being treated for the gunshot wound and brought him back to the provincial jail.

Cabahug, a resident of Barangay Tagnucan, Borbon, was detained at CPDRC since November 13, 2009. He bolted out from jail three years ago and returned to his place. Cabahug is facing drug charges.  (FREEMAN)












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