MANILA—Authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the bullet that killed 3-year-old Myka Ulpina in an anti-narcotics operation in Rodriguez town, Rizal, came from a gun fired by a police officer.
The firearm belonged to Police Senior Master Sergeant Conrado Cabigao Jr., based on the statements of police officers and witnesses, and a reenactment of the operation targeting Renato Ulpina, Myka’s father.
“Sa initial na ballistics ngayon, based sa positioning and reenactment, we came to an initial findings na ang nakabaril sa bata ay si Senior Master Sergeant Cabigao. Siya lang naman ang nakapunta doon sa kuwarto,” Calabarzon regional police director Brigadier-General Edward Carranza said.
Carranza said the gunshot wounds in Myka’s arms and feet were also inflicted by another officer, Police Corporal Mark Jherson Olaño, who fired from a nearby house.
“[Si] Olaño [ang] namaril mula sa katabing bahay doon sa 3rd floor, na ang tama ng bala ay sa paa at sa kamay [ni Myka],” Carranza said.
The police director said the size of the gunshot wounds Myka sustained matched the bullets from the 9-mm firearms used by Cabigao and Olaño.
“It’s possible that it was a 9 mm. At sa positioning at sa statement ng tropa sa reenactment, si Cabigao lang talaga ang nakapasok doon sa kwarto. Nasa bubong, sumilip doon sa tabi ng aircon, sinirang bintana doon si Cabigao, at doon nagkaputukan,” Carranza said.
The investigation also revealed that Renato was still shot at even as he lay dead.
“Noong nakabagsak na si Renato, binaril pa siya ng isang pulis. Kasi doon sa autopsy, nabaril na siya ng isa, nakabagsak na. Ang presumption ng isang pulis na iyon, akala niya buhay pa, binaril niya,” Carranza said.
“Siguro out of anger, binaril pa rin siya (Renato) kahit patay na.”
Previous reports said Rodriguez Police chief Police Lieutenant Colonel Resty Damaso was immediately relieved from his post.
Rizal Province Police director Colonel Lou Evangelista was also relieved and replaced, according to Carranza.
“Reason kung bakit ni-relieve ko ang provincial director [ay] may nakita akong lapses sa [operation]. May batang namatay, hindi siya dapat nag-rely sa statement ng kanyang chief of police at tauhan kaya ni-relieve ko siya, pati chief of police,” Carranza said.
The police operation reportedly was not supervised by a senior officer, contrary to standard procedures.
“May violation, walang officer na kasama; in our anti-illegal drugs operation, dapat may officer na kasama. Sabi ng chief of police, ‘Sir, kasabay daw po kase ng kanilang simultaneous operations.’ Sabi ko, ‘That’s not a reason. Dapat you have sent an officer to supervise kasi that is an anti-drug operation,’” Carranza said.
Top police officials are still discussing what to do with the officers responsible for Myka’s death.
On Tuesday, authorities said Myka sustained a gunshot wound in her brain, saying a bullet entered her nape with an upward trajectory and then exited her left ear.
Myka died on June 29 after being caught in the crossfire.
The police previously said her father fired at police and used her as a shield. The child’s mother belied this.
New York-based Human Rights Watch slammed Myka’s death, noting that police accounts of drug raids “are not reliable because the officers enforcing the “drug war” have been shown to manufacture evidence.” — Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News