MANILA, Philippines - A local court sentenced a former policeman to at least 30 years in prison for the murder of a 17-year-old boy in Quezon City more than 12 years ago.
In a 17-page decision dated March 12, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 102 Judge Ma. Lourdes Giron sentenced dismissed policeman Senior Police Officer 1 Geronimo Cestina with reclusion perpetua – or 30 years in prison, after which he becomes eligible for pardon – for shooting Eduardo Riguer Jr. on March 10, 2002.
She also ordered him to pay the heirs of the victim P50,000 as civil indemnity, P44,058 as actual damages, P50,000 as moral damages, and P30,000 as exemplary damages.
The case stemmed from the complaint of Gina Riguer, who identified the police officer as the one who shot her son, who was a minor at the time of the incident. She also filed an administrative case against the policeman before the Office of the Ombudsman, which ordered Cestina’s dismissal from service.
During the trial, prosecution witness Javie Gardon said that on the night of March 10, 2002, two male teenagers robbed her along Commonwealth Avenue.
After the robbery, she said an FX driver stopped in front of her and asked her to board the vehicle to run after the robbers. She identified the driver as Cestina, adding that there were two barangay tanods in the vehicle.
While cruising along Ilang-Ilang street, Gardon claimed that Cestina – who was assigned to Station 4 of the Quezon City Police District – intentionally hit a teenager crossing the road, got out of the vehicle and shot him once.
Gardon said the victim, later identified as Riguer, was handcuffed and thrown inside the vehicle. She said the victim was not the one who robbed her that night.
In his defense, Cestina claimed he was home in Batasan Hills with his family at the time of the incident. He said that members of the Riguer family stabbed him in the past, and that he filed a case against them.