MANILA—The death of 6-year-old Gian Habal from a stray bullet could have been prevented if the police officer tagged as a suspect had been dismissed for an earlier offense, according to the Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine National Police (PNP-IAS).
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, PNP-IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo said Police Cpl. Rocky delos Reyes was involved in a case of illegal discharge of a firearm in December.
"May pronouncement noon si chief PNP [General Oscar Albayalde] tungkol doon sa illegal discharge na bilisan ang kaso at ang penalty ay dismissal from the service . . . It appears na iyang pananatili sa serbisyo ni Delos Reyes ay violation ng kaniyang directive," Triambulo said.
Police Col. Restituto Arcangel of Caloocan police confirmed complaints of indiscriminate firing and alarm scandal were filed against Delos Reyes on December 9, 2018.
PNP-IAS said it received the list of police officers with administrative cases for illegal discharge of firearms in January, but Delos Reyes’ name was not on it.
All 8 officers on the list were dismissed from service in February and March.
Triambulo said the death of Habal could have been prevented if Delos Reyes had been charged for his previous case and eventually dismissed from service as early as January.
"Sana kung itong pulis na ito ay nakasama pa sa tinanggal ng IAS, [hindi nabaril 'yung bata]," Triambulo said, adding that the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) needs to explain why Delos Reyes’ name was omitted from the list of violators.
"Siguro dapat na magpaliwanag ang NCRPO bakit ito ay hindi kasama doon sa report ng mga pulis na na-violate ng ating kampanya," Triambulo said.
Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar of NCRPO clarified that the case of Delos Reyes happened earlier to be covered by the monitoring window.
"Hindi siya kasama doon sa time na mino-monitor namin noong Yuletide season. Earlier nangyari ’yung sa kaniya," Eleazar said.
Habal was killed when a bullet from Delos Reyes' firearm hit his head last Sunday.