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Ombudsman affirms homicide raps vs 4 cops
In an 11-page joint order dated June 4, the ombudsman’s Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices denied the motions for reconsideration of nine police officers seeking the reversal of its Jan. 15, 2020 resolution.
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Ombudsman affirms homicide raps vs 4 cops

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - June 15, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has upheld the filing of homicide charges against four Caloocan police officers for their alleged involvement in the murders of Luis Bonifacio and his son Gabriel Lois in 2016 during Oplan Tokhang.

In an 11-page joint order dated June 4, the ombudsman’s Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) denied the motions for reconsideration of nine police officers seeking the reversal of its Jan. 15, 2020 resolution.

The order was prepared by graft investigation and prosecution officer Benedict Byron Villalba and approved by Deputy Ombudsman for the MOLEO Cyril Ramos.

The ombudsman affirmed the homicide charges against M/Sgt. Virgilio Cervantes and Corporals Arnel de Guzman, Johnston Alacre and Artemio Saguros Jr.

They were also found guilty of grave misconduct and ordered suspended for one year without pay.

The ombudsman also denied the motions for reconsideration of five other Caloocan police officers.

Maj. Avelino Andaya, Senior Sergeants Edgar Manapat, Reymel Villanueva, Harold Jake dela Rosa and Pat. Aldrin Matthew Matining were suspended for a month without pay after they were found guilty of simple neglect of duty.

The chiefs of the Deparment of the Interior and Local Government and Philippine National Police were directed to implement the suspension order.

Ombudsman probers found no merit in the argument of Cervantes, De Guzman, Alacre and Saguros that they merely acted in self-defense when they shot dead Bonifacio and his son.

The MOLEO gave no weight to the defense of Andaya, Manapat, Villanueva, Dela Rosa and Matining that they were not directly involved in the anti-narcotics operation.

In March 2017, Bonifacio’s wife, Mary Ann Domingo, assisted by the National Union of People’s Lawyers, filed murder, robbery and administrative charges against more than 20 police officers of the Northern Police District and Caloocan police station for the killing of the Bonifacios at their house in Barangay 146, Bagong Barrio on Sept. 15, 2016.

The ombudsman found probable cause to indict only four of the respondents, saying that the “records are bereft of evidence that would establish evident premeditation” to commit the killing.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
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