'Tisoy' mauled by inmates, QC police official claims

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2018 12:20 AM | Updated as of Jun 22 2018 12:42 AM

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MANILA - Genesis "Tisoy" Argoncillo, who was jailed for violating a city ordinance, died after he was mauled by fellow inmates, a police official said Thursday.

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel said investigators obtained statements from 3 inmates at the Novaliches police station.

"There seems to be parang binugbog iyung si Genesis ng suspect as attested by 2 witnesses," Esquivel told ABS-CBN News.

Asked who did it, he said: "Inmates also kasama sa kulungan."

This runs contrary to the QCPD's earlier claim that Argoncillo may have died from suffocation and the police station commander's separate allegation that his death was "self-inflicted."

A QCPD press statement Thursday morning alleged that Argoncillo complained of "shortness of breath" on Tuesday and was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. 

The doctor who attended to Argoncillo "certified that there were no signs of external injuries," the QCPD also alleged. 

In the past month, 5 detainees died inside QCPD facilities after complaining of difficulty of breathing, the police unit said. 

CHANGING CLAIMS

Later in the day, the QCPD later changed its claim.

Esquivel said investigators have been interviewing witnesses since Wednesday, a day after Argoncillo died. 

He said he only learned of the results from the head of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit on Thursday afternoon.

This was the same day the Argoncillo family released his death certificate revealing he died of multiple blunt force trauma to the neck, head, chest, and upper extremities. 

Esquivel said police have yet to receive a copy of the death certificate and will have to verify its authenticity.

While the family continues to say that police were mainly responsible for Argoncillo's death, Esquivel said they have yet to find evidence the police at the station are directly involved.

Nevertheless, he admitted there were lapses among the police if Argoncillo died due to violent means.

"May lapses ang jail guards and iyung oversight ng station commander, which was why both of them were relieved to give the full-blown investigation," he said.

Station commander Supt. Carlito Grijaldo and jailer PO3 Dennis Saño have been relieved from their posts because of the incident. 

Esquivel assured the Argoncillo family that the police will resolve the case.

"We will get to the bottom of this. As of now what we have are circumstantial, we have yet to verify the death certificate that was provided through electronic means, plus the statement we got from witnesses is more than a probable," he said.

A vendor passes by the wake of Genesis "Tisoy" Argoncillo at the basketball court of Area 5B, Sitio Cabuyao, Barangay Sauyo, Novaliches, Quezon City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

'ARRESTED FOR NOT WEARING SHIRT'

Argoncillo, 22, was watching videos on his phone in front of a store next to their house in Novaliches, Quezon City last Friday night when policemen arrested him because he was not wearing a shirt, according to his elder sister. 

Grijaldo, the chief of Quezon City Police Station 4, claimed Argoncillo's death was self-inflicted, alleging the detainee was "mentally disturbed" and was uncontrollable, making a scene inside the cell. 

Marilou disputed this claim. Tisoy, she insisted, was very soft-spoken and never had any mental health issues nor any tendency to create a scandal, as the police were trying to portray him.

Police alleged that Argoncillo was intoxicated when authorities chanced upon him during "Oplan Galugad" operations. 

He underwent inquest the next day for "alarm and scandal."

But the owner of the sari-sari store where Tisoy was arrested told Marilou that the police made him hold empty beer bottles left where he was sitting, and took a photograph of him for use as evidence.