AWOL cop in Mandaluyong shooting surfaces
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The police officer implicated in the bungled shooting in Mandaluyong City that left two persons dead and two others wounded last week surfaced yesterday.

Senior Inspector Maria Cristina Vasquez, commander of Police Community Precinct 1 in Barangay Addition Hills, reported for duty at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig before 11 a.m.

 Senior Superintendent Florendo Quibuyen, deputy director for operations of the Eastern Police District (EPD), said Vasquez would be placed under the restrictive custody of acting Mandaluyong police chief Superintendent Enrique Agtarap.

Vasquez is the commander of the nine policemen who were relieved over the shooting.

Vasquez went AWOL (absent without leave) after administrative and criminal charges were filed against her and the nine policemen.

Bato to tanod: Surrender or face manhunt  

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Tuesday urged one of the barangay tanods or watchmen involved in the shooting to surrender and face charges.

Gilberto Gulpo should turn himself in to police, Dela Rosa said.

 “Otherwise, we will conduct a manhunt for his arrest,” the PNP chief said.

Dela Rosa said officials of the Mandaluyong city government were working for Gulpo’s surrender.

Barangay watchmen and policemen opened fire at a Mitsubishi Adventure, thinking it was the getaway van of gunmen being chased by authorities at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Old Wack Wack Road in Barangay Addition Hills on Dec. 28.

The two other watchmen, Wilmer Duron and Ernesto Fajardo, are in police custody.

Jimmy Isidro, city public information officer, said Gulpo has sent surrender feelers.

According to Isidro, Gulpo was hesitant to yield because he could not post bail due to the holiday break.

“We received information that he is looking for a lawyer,” Isidro said in a phone interview with The STAR.

Gulpo, Duron and Fajardo have been charged with murder before the Mandaluyong City Prosecutor’s Office for the killing of Jonalyn Ambaon and Jomar Hayawon.

While he condemned the botched operation, Dela Rosa said police responded to the scene based on  wrong  information provided by the watchmen.

“Their mistake was that they did not validate the information,” he said.

Dela Rosa said he would have acted in the same way if he had been informed that armed men in a van were engaging authorities in a firefight. Video footage, however, showed that no shot was fired from the van, which was riddled with at least 36 bullets.

PAO won’t defend cops, watchmen

The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) will not defend the 10 Mandaluyong police officers and the barangay watchmen over the shooting believed to be a case of mistaken identity.

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said they would instead provide legal assistance to Eliseo Aluad, one of the two civilians wounded during the incident.

Also injured was Danilo Santiago Jr.

Acosta clarified that it was not a matter of choice to defend the victim instead of the policemen.

“The survivor in the shooting first sought our assistance. Aluad was referred to us by members of the media,” she said.

Acosta said she would meet Aluad tomorrow to discuss the cases he would file against the policemen and barangay watchmen.

The 10 policemen have  been charged with homicide before the city prosecutor’s office.

Aside from Vasquez, also charged were Police Officer 2 Nel Songalia and PO1s Kim Tinbusay, Bryan Nicolas, Julius Livuen, Ariel Uribe, Jave Arellano, Tito Danao, Mark Castillo and Albert Buwag.

Charges drafted

The Mandaluyong City prosecutor’s office has drafted a resolution on the multiple homicide and frustrated homicide cases filed by the EPD against the police officers and barangay watchmen.

Prosecutor Arnold Magpantay did not reveal the contents of the resolution, saying it has to be reviewed first by chief city prosecutor Bernabe Augustus Solis.

“It has to undergo two phases of review before it becomes official,” Magpantay said.

He did not say when the resolution would be made public.

“There could be changes in the resolution,” he said. – With Non Alquitran, Edu Punay

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