Police response or Oplan Galugad?
MANILA - A concerned resident last Friday evening allegedly reported Genesis "Tisoy" Argoncillo for being drunk and picking up a fight with his neighbors in Novaliches, Quezon City's chief of police said Thursday.
Argoncillo was held at the Quezon City Police District Station 4 that night for charges of alarm and scandal. Four days later, he was found motionless in his detention cell and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
Supt. Joselito Esquivel, chief of the Quezon City police, insisted that Tisoy was arrested because of the concerned citizen's report and not because of their "Oplan Galugad" operations, where they go to the streets to check on people violating city ordinances.
However, Supt. Carlito Grijaldo, Quezon City Police Station 4 Commander, earlier claimed Argoncillo was arrested for alarm and scandal during the conduct of Oplan Galugad, citing a police report which was handed to ABS-CBN News.
The family, meanwhile, claims Tisoy, who was waiting for his cellphone load in a store next to their house, was arrested for being half-naked. Neighbors claim that the police made him hold empty beer bottles left by someone else, and also took photos of him for evidence.
"Kusa 'yun sumama sa kanila. Tinawag lang niya tiyahin ko, 'tita, may mga pulis dito, sabay lang ako, nakahubad kasi ako,'" said his elder sister, Marilou, who went with Tisoy when the police brought him to the barangay hall that Friday evening.
(He willingly went with the police. He just told his auntie, 'I'll just go with the police because I have no shirt on.')
"Ang maingay rito yung bidyoke, 'yung kantahan... Si Tisoy na 'yan bihira bumaba ng bahay 'yun... Hindi nag iingay yun," 80-year-old Alfonso Ascura, a neighbor of the Argoncillos added.
(Videokes bother us here, not Tisoy who does not even go out of the house often. He does not make noises that would bother us.)
Arrested for scandal or for being half-naked?
ABS-CBN News obtained documents from Barangay Sauyo that would show Tisoy was not the only one arrested that night, contrary to the police's claims that a concerned resident specifically complained about him.
Tisoy's full name, Genesis Argoncillo was on a document that read "Turn Over of Cited Person" and had a listed violation of "half-naked." His name, however, was erased, together with a certain Jerson Cappelan.
The barangay's logbook also had the turn-over documented. Argoncillo and Cappelan's name were erased with liquid paper. Emmanuel Jalandoni, a barangay peace keeping security officer, confirmed that Argoncillo and 6 others were brought to them.
The officer on duty that night, Jesus Ortego, refused a face-to-face interview with the media. But he told Jalandoni that he had no idea why the document had markings on the said names. Jalandoni further said that Argoncillo had a clean record.
He explained that if barangay protocols were to be followed, warnings are usually given during the first offense for being half-naked. In this case, he added, Argoncillo should've been sent home that night.
Argoncillo was instead brought to the police station, Station 4, where he was detained, his sister Marilou recalled. The next day, she was told her younger brother was charged of alarm and scandal.
Mauled to death or death due to congestion?
Marilou visited Tisoy everyday, and her brother would tell her that he was being mauled by other detainees. She recalled her brother getting weaker each visit until on Tuesday, she was told his brother was rushed to the hospital.
The Quezon City Police insisted in a statement that Argoncillo complained of shortness of breath and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.The doctor in the hospital "certified that there were no signs of external injuries."
But a copy of the death certificate obtained by ABS-CBN News from the family on Wednesday showed that Argoncillo's cause of death was "multiple blunt force trauma to his neck, head, chest and upper extremities."
The Argoncillos took to social media their anger over the conflicting tales of what happened to their departed loved one. They posted photos of Tisoy's cadaver and pointed out the alleged marks of beating in his body.
The family believes the photos are enough evidence to prove foul play but police said complaints must be filed and must be backed up with witnesses and evidence. Cops insisted Argoncillo died of difficulty in breathing because of jail congestion.
"You have to complain to enforce your right, that's my advice. Some people will just put up in the news, nagse-spread 'yan, nagiging fake news na bali ang tadyang, may sugat-sugat ganito," said Supt. Esquivel.
"Even the doctor that pronounced him dead, signed his name that there was no external injury at the time of death. Where are these wounds that they are telling? But anyway, we respect them due to grief they can file a complaint," he added.
Grijaldo of Station 4 earlier said Argoncillo may have died because of self-inflicted injures.
"Galing din naman sa pamilya niya, mentally ano 'yan, mentally disturbed... Mentally disturbed kasi 'yan, nagwawala sa loob inuuntog-untog 'yung sarili niya diyan," he said.
A call for help
Meanwhile, one of the witnesses in the area claims receiving threats after the Argoncillo family bared the story to the media.
"May tumawag po. Sabi, 'manahimik na lang kayo.' Delikado daw ang buhay," the witness said.
The Argoncillo family is now asking the Public Attorney's Office for help in the autopsy, fearing the PNP Crime Lab's autopsy result will be whitewashed.
Police intensified the implementation of city ordinances recently, following a directive from President Rodrigo Duterte, calling loiterers (tambay) "potential trouble for the public."--with reports by Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News