MANILA - There was a lapse in operational procedure in the fatal shooting incident in Mandaluyong City that left 2 civilians dead and 2 others wounded, the Metro Manila police said Tuesday.
Policemen and village guards fired at a white Mitsubishi Adventure on Shaw Boulevard late Thursday on suspicion it was the getaway vehicle of a shooting suspect. However, the vehicle was transporting Jonalyn Amba-an, who was shot at a construction site while pacifying an altercation involving her live-in partner.
Amba-an and her companion, construction worker Jomar Hayawon, died from the mishap. Amba-an's live-in partner Eliseo Aluad, and Danilo Santiago, who was driving the vehicle, suffered gunshot wounds.
"Our regional director already said that there really is in fact a lapse sa ating standard operating procedure because one, the police fired—on the first burst of fire, sana when there was no active shooter, nung walang bumaril sa kanila, they should have stopped," Superintendent Kimberly Molitas, spokesperson of the National Capital Region Police Office, said.
Asked if it was an overkill, Molitas said: "Based on what we know, it is. Thirty-six spent shells is a lot without an active shooter sa Adventure."
"There should be yung imminent danger na tinatawag natin, pero wala namang nagpaputok. Dun talaga yung lapse ng ating kapulisan," she told ANC's Headstart.
"Kung meron sanang pumutok or may active shooter na alam nila, the action would have been correct. Pero dahil wala namang bumaril from that side of the vehicle, sana hindi na sila nag-open fire," she said.
The mishap bared a deficiency in the police officers' training, especially on their "judgment call," said Molitas.
"With all the training, with all the skills that we provide for our police officers, at the end of the day, there will always be the use of our common sense, na kailangan talaga na on situations like this," she said.
"Yun ang tinitingnan natin, siguro talagang dadagdagan pa natin ang training kung kailangan," she added.
Administrative cases will be filed against the police officers involved in the incident on top of the homicide and frustrated homicide charges filed against them and village watchmen, said Molitas, adding that it may lead to their dismissal from service.
The police officers tagged in the shooting are Senior Inspector Maria Cristina Vasquez, Police Officer 2 Nel Songalia, PO 1 Jave Arellano, PO1 Tito Danao, PO1 Bryan Nicolas, PO1 Julius Libuyen, PO1 Mark Castillo, PO1 Alberto Buag, PO1 Kim Tinbusay, and PO1 Alfred Urbe.
Village watchmen Wilmer Duron, Ernesto Fajardo and Gilbert Gulpo were also allegedly involved.
WOUNDS BEFORE POLICE ARRIVED
Molitas said the watchmen, who were first to respond to the supposed chase aboard their multicab, said they were fired upon first by the passengers of the Adventure, but this will be verified by the ballistics test the crime laboratory is currently doing.
She added the 3 survivors who were from the Adventure claimed that Amba-an was "shot again for the second time and the driver already had a gunshot wound" before the police officers arrived at the scene.
"I’m not concluding, but according to our witnesses, nabaril na sila bago pa dumating yung mga pulis natin," she said.
"Ang kuwento ng witness natin, sumisigaw daw yung mga pulis natin na ‘Bumaba kayo. Pag di kayo bumaba, papuputukan namin kayo.’ Hindi sila nakababa and then that’s how the police opened fire at the Adventure," she added.