Director General Ronald Dela Rosa issued the directive in the aftermath of the shooting incident in Mandaluyong City last Dec. 28, where two persons were killed and several others wounded when the vehicle the victims were riding in was fired upon by the watchmen and policemen.? PNP-PIO, File

PNP Chief Bato dela Rosa orders 'tanods' disarmed
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered yesterday the arrest and disarming of barangay tanods or village watchmen nationwide who possess loose firearms.?

Dela Rosa issued the directive in the aftermath of the shooting incident in Mandaluyong City last Dec. 28, where two persons were killed and several others wounded when the vehicle the victims were riding in was fired upon by the watchmen and policemen.?

“First, if they are watchmen they are not authorized to carry guns, so right now I am giving instruction to all members of the PNP to arrest all armed watchmen,” Dela Rosa told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City.?

The PNP chief said he did not care if he incurred the ire of politicians who are protecting these barangay tanods.

He clarified that tanods are considered force multipliers but they will not be tolerated if they themselves are causing problems in the community.

Dela Rosa said if the watchmen have licenses to own and posses firearms and permit to carry them, they are still not allowed to flaunt the firearms but conceal them in clutch bags.

Dela Rosa admitted lapses on the part of the police during the shooting incident that led to the death of two civilians and wounding of two others in Mandaluyong City.

He said the policemen were fed with wrong information that the van was the getaway vehicle of armed suspects, thus they fired upon the vehicle of the victims.

The fatalities identified as Jonalyn Ambaan and Jomar Hayawon were passengers of a utility van that police reportedly mistook for the getaway vehicle of gunmen being chased by village watchmen at the corner of Shaw Blvd. and Old Wack Wack Road, Barangay Addition Hills.

He, however, said the incident was due to lapses and the policemen did not intend to kill the civilians.

“At least what happened is mere bungling and not born out of kasamaan (evil intent). The operation was really bungled,” he noted.

He said policemen and watchmen involved in the shooting incident have been charged with homicide.

The PNP created special investigation task group (SITG) Shaw to look into possible “overkill” in the police response to the information provided by the tanods.

SITG Shaw is headed by Senior Supt. Florendo Quibuyen, the deputy chief for operations of the Eastern Police District.

Three survivors of the shooting incident claimed that they were shouting at the policemen to stop firing as they were taking a gunshot victim to hospital.?

Precinct chief hiding

The female precinct commander of the nine rookie policemen involved in the bungled shooting incident in Mandaluyong City was declared absent without leave (AWOL) yesterday for failure to report to her new assignment, a police official said yesterday.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde said he would withhold the salary and allowances of Senior Insp. Maria Cristina Vasquez if she fails to report to the NCRPO’s regional police holding and administrative unit (RPHAU) today.

Albayalde pointed out that the nine policemen from the Police Community Precinct 1 (PCP1) in Barangay Addition Hills reported immediately to the RPHAU after the shooting incident last Dec. 29 but Sanchez has been missing since Dec. 30.

“I’m ordering her arrest because we wanted to disarm her and submit her service firearm for ballistic examination to determine whether she had fired a gun during the shooting incident,” said Albayalde.

Albayalde, however, pointed out that Vasquez could not escape liability on the shooting incident as she was among the 15 persons charged in the case.

Last Dec. 31, Supt. Enrique Agtarap, acting Mandaluyong City police chief, filed reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and frustrate homicide charges before the Mandaluyong prosecutor’s office against Vasquez, PO2 Lawemuel Songalia; and PO1s Ariel Uribe, Jave Arellano, Tito Danao, Mark Castillo, Julius Libuen, Bryan Nicolas, Albert Buwag and Kim Rufford Tibunsay and barangay tanods Wilmer Duron and Gilbert Gulpo.

City prosecutor Arnold Magpantay ordered the nine policemen and Duron detained pending issuance of his resolution of the case today.

Three other people – construction worker Murey Hamon, Jemar Altin and Romeo Resureccion – were charged with alarm and scandal and physical injuries for their involvement in the first incident that led to the shooting of Ambaan.

In a case conference yesterday, SITG Shaw head Quibuyen said they are waiting for the ballistic examination on the firearms of the nine policemen and the autopsy report on Ambaan for them to proceed with their probe into the incident. – Non Alquitran

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