MANILA, Philippines - What was wrong with telling Ramgen Revilla's attackers to stop?
Dennis Manzanal, lawyer of Ramon Joseph "RJ" Bautista, said police investigators seem to have misinterpreted Ramona Revilla's alleged statement to tell Ramgen's killers: "Tama na, tama na. (Stop it. Stop it.)"
Taskforce Ramgen head Chief Inspector Enrique Sy earlier said he was puzzled why Janelle Manahan, girlfriend of Ramgen, said in her testimony that when she was down, moments after the assailants entered the house and pounced on Ramgen, she heard Ramona telling the assailants "Tama na, tama na."
Manzanal, however, has a different interpretation.
“Ang narinig daw ni Janelle ay ‘tama na, tama na.’ Ang sinabi ng mga pulis, hindi daw naaayon sa natural na reaksyon ng tao,” he said in an interview on ANC.
“Sabi ko, yun ang pinaka-natural na sasabihin mo kapag pinapatay na ang kapatid mo: ‘tama na, tama na.’ Kung gusto niyang patayin yun sasabihin niya ‘sige pa, sige pa.’”
Ramona and RJ are both suspects in the murder of Ramgen last week.
Manzanal, meanwhile, insisted that the Revilla family will only face police investigators for questioning if the City Prosecutor’s Office will send a subpoena.
“They [police] cannot just take her into custody. We are saying: ‘let the judicial or quasi-judicial processes take their course and we will answer all the queries,” he stressed.
Once the subpoena arrives, Manzanal said Ramona will then submit her counter-affidavit.
Manzanal explained that the inquest proceedings of Ramon Joseph should be rendered invalid since his arrest was illegal.
He said the police’s explanation that the arrest of Ramon Joseph was part of a hot pursuit operation is wrong.
“No, we do not subscribe to the idea that there was a hot pursuit operation. A hot pursuit operation pre-supposes personal knowledge of the arresting officer. None of the arresting officers have personal knowlegde of the facts and circumstances of the crime,” he explained.
The lawyer added even the testimony of witness Ruell Puzon which said he saw the suspects planning the crime was not sufficient reason to have Ramon Joseph arrested.
“Assuming it to be true that he has personal knowledge, he has personal knowledge only of the planning. Planning is not a crime unless it is executed,” he said.
Senior Superintendent Billy Beltran, Parañaque City police chief, said they will leave it up to the prosecutor handling the case to determine whether the arrest was indeed illegal.
He also defended anew their findings which tagged Ramon Joseph, Ramona and 5 others in the crime.
The prosecutor is set to release in 15 days a decision on whether there is probable cause against the suspects.
The police chief also insisted they have been diligent in handling the high-profile case.