Did he really shoot himself? PNP investigates death of N. Ecija rape-slay suspect

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 27 2017 06:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 27 2017 07:43 PM

Suspect, police escorts test negative for gunpowder residue

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) on Thursday initiated an investigation into the death of kidnap-rape-slay suspect Larry Herrera Thursday.

PNP-IAS conducted an ocular inspection of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group compound and asked PO3 Felix Parafina to do a walk through where Herrera, suspect in the kidnap, rape, and slay of an 8-year-old girl in Nueva Ecija, allegedly grabbed the officer's gun then shot himself in the head Tuesday night. 

Parafina said he and Senior Police Officer 1 Grant Chaluyen escorted the suspect back to his detention cell in the AKG compound in Camp Crame Tuesday night after undergoing inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

Parafina said the hallway in the AKG compound was narrow and that they had to form a single file in order to reach the detention area. 

“Hindi kayang mag-dalawa, mag-tatlo, ganito lang kalaki o. Napakaliit talaga ng lugar. Nauna ako, sa likod ang suspek, then si SPO1 Chaluyen 'yung huli. Pag-akyat ko doon sa hagdan, dalawang step, dinukot niya bigla. Tinry ko pa rin siyang pigilan, sinunggaban pero hindi na inabutan ng kamay ko,” he said.

Parafina also said Herrera’s demeanor changed when they returned from DOJ.

“Noong una, nakangiti pa eh, akala mo wala lang. After ng inquest proceedings, umiiyak na siya habang pabalik kami dito sa kampo. Pagbaba niya, malungkot na malungkot siya, nakayuko, so hindi namin sukat akalain na gagawin niya 'yon sa sarili niya,” Parafina recalled.

During the walk-through, Parafina gave a demonstration on how the suspect managed to grab his service firearm. 

PNP-IAS said it would look at whether Parafina's claim is possible. 

“If there are other evidence, kung may nakakita rin, kung merong gusto pang mag-testify or kung meron pang ma-uncover na information, that could help kung ano talaga ang nangyari doon," said Michael Darwin Bayotas, PNP-IAS Intelligence and Investigation Division Acting Chief.

The police escorts could face charges of neglect of duty if investigation shows they were negligent. 

“Possibilities merong may negligence in handling of the detainee, 'di namin ma-estalish pa kung sa harapan ang handcuff o likod, o hindi na naka-handcuff kase papasok na siya. So 'yon ang dapat ma-establish muna. Neglect of duty in violation of our police operational procedure in handling detainee or even 'yung arrest,” Bayotas said.

Meanwhile, paraffin tests conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory on suspect Herrera and his two police escorts came out negative for gunpowder nitrates. 

Supt. Victor Drapete, PNP Crime Lab's Chemistry Division Chief, however, said results of paraffin tests may be inconclusive.

"Hindi siya conclusive, may mga factors that affect the result of being negative in the exam. There are several factors: wind direction, direction of the firing, the type of gun, age of mechanism, length of the barrel, humidity and, of course, the use of gloves," Drapete said.

The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group National Capital Region is also investigating the possible criminal liability of the two police escorts.