MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - A former policeman who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for allegedly tampering with evidence in the 1991 Vizconde massacre case walked free on Tuesday after serving his sentence.
Former Parañaque City cop Gerardo Biong walked free from the New Bilibid Prisons where he had been staying for the past 15 years. He insisted that he was unjustly imprisoned and said he was jailed "because God allowed it."
"On the record, wala akong kasalanan. Iyan siguro ang kagustuhan ng ating minamahal na Panginoon dahil hindi ko yan pinanaginip. Dahil siya ang may-ari sa atin, siguro yun ang kagustuhan Niya para ako'y mahubog. Makilala ko Siya," he told reporters upon his release.
Asked what he learned during his long incarceration, he said in Pilipino: "Many, many things. It's hard to summarize everything but what I learned most of all is to come closer to our Lord Jesus. (That's) Number 1."
Biong refused to say what he would do next. Asked if he would go back to the police force, he replied: "Kung pahihintulutan, pwede maaari pwedeng hindi."
Biong was detained in 1995 following his arrest in connection with the Vizconde massacre. He was found guilty by the trial court of burning bedsheets and tampering with other evidence in the crime and was sentenced in January 2000.
Last week, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima signed the documents for Biong's release. Biong's wife, Jocelyn, was present during her husband's release Tuesday. -- With a report from Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News