40 cops charged over girl’s death in drug sting

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The mother of a three-year-old girl who died in a shootout that killed her father during a drug sting in Rodriguez, Rizal in June filed criminal complaints against 40 police officers yesterday.

Assisted by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), the mother of Myca Ulpina filed charges for murder and obstruction of justice before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“May she be the last victim of the Duterte administration’s drug war. She was just three years old, too young to be a victim of a drug war. My daughter just wanted to finish her studies but was not given the chance,” Myca’s mother, who wants to be identified only as Tess, told reporters in Filipino after filing the complaints.

Charged with murder were Rodriguez police chief Lt. Col. Resty Damaso; Chief Master/Sgt. Gerry Cordero; S/Sgts. Eddie Inocentes, Ederico Edrick Zalabaria and Fortunato Jiro III; M/Sgt. Julynus Guillano; Cpls. Aladin Dizon and Aldwin Ortilla, and Patrolmen Curties Balderas, Mark Jherson Olano, Christopher Escayda, Louie Andrew Cruz, Joey Baniqued and Emie Antonio.

Also charged with murder were Rizal police intelligence chief Lt. Col. Noel Campos; M/Sgt. Jesus Villamor Jr.; S/Sgts. Loyd Anos and Rommel Ramos; Cpls. Ian Kerby Bernas and Christopher Curay, and Pat. Michael John Arenas.

M/ Sgt. Vladimir Dizon and Patrolmen Ronald Allan Sta. Isabel, Jaymar Yim, Danny Tupaz and Tomie Ken Francisco, who conducted an investigation into Myca’s death, were charged with obstruction of justice.

Scene of the Crime Operatives team leader Maj. Joanne Rosales, medico-legal officer Maj. Shanne Lore Dettabali and Master Sgts. Eugenio Santos, Ferdinand Jaramilla and Angelo Ilog are also facing obstruction of justice charges.

Likewise charged with obstruction of justice were Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division chief Col. Joseph Arguelles, Maj. Gabriel Unay, Chief M/Sgts. Edward Michael Garcia, M/Sgts. Bernard Navarro, Senior M/Sgts. Archie Alvarado and Ventura Catabay as well as two officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Internal Affairs Service Lt. Col. Michael Allan Leano and Senior M/Sgt. Archie Alvarado.

Lapses, coverup

NUPL lawyer Katherine Panguban said the police officers involved in the investigation of Myca’s death were included in the complaint for lapses in the gathering of evidence and for alleged coverup.

“The police investigators came up with a report saying that the case of Myca was a case of homicide because her body bore gunshot wounds ... They made it appear that Myca was used as a human shield by her father. We are strongly opposing and belying such finding,” Panguban said.

“They also committed lapses in the gathering and handling of evidence. There were also indication of cover-up,” she said.

The PNP had earlier relieved 20 Rodriguez police officers in connection with the incident.

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