PNP: 4 cops must face drug war slay sentence

Emmanuel Tupas, Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The four police officers who were convicted by a Caloocan court for killing a father and son during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs in 2016 should face the consequences of their actions, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday.

Col. Jean Fajardo, the PNP’s public information officer, made the statement as she said the police force respects the decision of Judge Ma. Rowena Violago Alejandria of the Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 121, who found the police officers guilty of homicide for the death of Luis Bonifacio and his son Gabriel.

The court sentenced M/Sgt. Virgilio Cervantes and Corporals Arnel de Guzman, Johnston Alacre and Artemio Saguros to serve up to 10 years in prison.

“Whatever penalty the court meted on them, they must face it,” Fajardo said in a news briefing at Camp Crame.

Fajardo said the police officers remain with their respective units, adding they have 15 days to appeal the court’s ruling.

Two of the policemen are assigned at the Northern Police District while the other two are from the Manila Police District and Rizal Police Provincial Office.

On the contention of the victims’ family that the police officers should have been convicted of murder, which carries a life term, Fajardo said they are free to exhaust all legal remedies but reminded them it was the Office of the Ombudsman that downgraded the case to homicide.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla said yesterday that the police officers’ conviction is “clear proof” of a functioning justice system.

“This conviction is a milestone in our criminal justice system, a testament of the government’s unwavering efforts to safeguarding human rights in the pursuit of justice and a clear proof of a functioning justice system,” Remulla said.

The conviction, he said, also serves as a “reminder to abusive police officers that no one is above the law, justice will eventually catch up with them.”

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