MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday investigation is now underway on the death of a murder suspect in the hands of Quezon City Police District (QCPD) personnel last night.
PNP spokesperson Police Col. Bernard Banac said officers on duty at the time of the incident will give their accounts and submit their firearms for ballistics examination as part of procedure.
“Any police intervention is always done with presumption of regularity following standard police operating procedures, in this case, on custody of suspects and on self-defense,” Banac said.
Suspect Carl Joseph Bañanola, 37, was then being escorted by 4 personnel of QCPD Station 4 (Novaliches), including its commander Police Lt. Col. Rossel Cejas.
They were en route to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit in Camp Karingal following inquest proceedings for his 2 counts of robbery with homicide and frustrated murder case at the city prosecutor’s office.
While inside the police vehicle, Cejas said police heeded the suspect’s request to have his handcuff loosened for “humane consideration.”
But Bañanola allegedly grabbed Police Staff Sgt. Alex Icban’s service firearm “with evil intent,” resulting in a scuffle. Cejas, who was in the passenger seat, drew his firearm and shot the suspect.
Banac, however, admitted that the probe is only under station level for now.
“Kapag nakita ng district director ng QCPD na may pangangailangan na mag-form ng investigation task group within the level ng district ay gagawin din ito ng ating authorities doon,” he said.
(If the district director of QCPD sees the need to form an investigation task group within the level of the district, authorities will do it there.)
He added: “Kapag mayroong enough evidence na magsasabing on the contrary, sila ay makakasuhan ng unang-una, administrative case at pangalawa naman...maari din silang makasuhan ng pagpatay.”
(If there is enough evidence on the contrary, they will be charged, first of all, administrative case, and secondly...they could be charged with murder.)
Banac said the death of a suspect under police custody is an “isolated case” and does not reflect the entirety of how authorities handle detainees.
He added that police officers are mandated to accord them “with proper protection and utmost respect for human rights.”
“Generally, lahat ng ating police intervention ay ginagawa ng PNP nang may pagsunod sa standard operating procedures at may presumption of regularity,” he said.
(Generally, all our police interventions are being done by PNP with observance of standard operating procedures and with presumption of regularity.)
Bañanola is the prime suspect in the killing of an elderly couple in Novaliches.
He admitted to stabbing the couple, aged 86 and 87, saying he was under the influence of illegal drugs.
In a media presentation, National Capital Region Police Office chief Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar berated Bañanola for his crime.
“Ikaw ang dapat na binibitay eh,” he said. “Robbery with homicide? Dalawang matatanda? Dahil sa pagdo-droga papatayin, nanakawan?”
(You should be executed. Robbery with homicide? Two old people? Just because of drugs you will kill and rob?)