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10 Laguna cops placed under restrictive custody over drug op that left minor dead
Satellite image shows Biñan, Laguna.
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10 Laguna cops placed under restrictive custody over drug op that left minor dead

Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - June 19, 2021 - 4:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police chief, on Saturday said the cops involved in the anti-drug operation in Biñan, Laguna, that left a minor dead have been placed under restrictive custody. 

Johndy Maglinte, age 16, was killed Wednesday along with Antonio Castillo Dalit who police say was a drug suspect that they were serving with an arrest warrant. Police also said the minor was working as Dalit's assistant. 

The PNP operatives claim that both Maglinte and Dalit resisted arrest and fought back but Maglinte's family disputes this, saying on social media that the teenager was handcuffed and pleading for his life when he was shot.

Carrying out orders from Eleazar, Police Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz, Calabarzon regional director, placed Cpt. Fernando Credo, Police Intelligence Unit Laguna head, and nine others under restrictive custody, according to a statement from the PNP. 

PNP also said all ten cops were subjected to paraffin testing, to determine whether they recently fired guns, while ballistics examinations were conducted on their firearms. The bodies of the Maglinte and Dalit were also subjected to paraffin testing. 

Per the same press release, investigators from the Laguna Province Internal Affairs Service (IAS) and the Calabarzon Regional IAS on Friday sought affidavits of complaint from Maglinte and Dalit's relatives but they were not yet ready to give their statements. 

The investigators left their contact numbers with both families, PNP said. 

"We are calling on the families of those who died and all the residents who witnessed the incident to help the ongoing investigation," Eleazar said in Filipino in a video sent to reporters. "The truth will not be found and justice will not be achieved if we stay quiet."  

Eleazar vows cooperation with CHR probe 

The Commission on Human Rights on Friday announced it would conduct its own probe into the incident, saying it is "deeply concerned with the news on another death of a minor." 

While noting that Calabarzon police's official report said Dalit and Maglinte exchanged shots with its personnel, CHR contrasted this with interviews given by Maglinte's live-in partner, also a minor, who said the 16-year-old was killed by police because he witnessed Dalit's death. 

"[T]he police reportedly shot [Maglinte] too—handcuffed and facing down into the mud," CHR said. 

"As such, we strongly urge the government to speed-up their investigations on cases of alleged extrajudicial killings, especially those linked to the government’s drug campaign," it added.

"Notably, there was already an observation from the UN Human Rights Office on the 'widespread and systematic killing of thousands of alleged drug suspects' and the persistent impunity in the country that urgently need to be addressed." 

While he has already directed Calabarzon's regional director and the inspector-general of the IAS to probe the incident, Eleazar said he also welcomes the independent probe being conducted by the CHR. 

"I assure that all police personnel involved will be made available to the CHR for the duration of its probe in the same manner that the policemen face the motu propio investigation by the IAS and the fact-finding probe of PRO4A," the national police chief said. 

"Like the CHR, we also want to find out the truth in this incident." 

READ: CHR access to 'drug war' cases still up for discussion — Guevarra | ICC prosecutor seeks Philippines drug war probe

—  with reports from Franco Luna and The STAR

CHR COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS DRUG WAR GUILLERMO ELEAZAR LAGUNA PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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