PAO: Victim shot 5 times, once from behind
MANILA - The head of the Public Attorney's Office believes elements of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group intentionally killed a handcuffed motorcyclist who supposedly resisted arrest last July 29.
Speaking to radio DZMM, PAO chief Atty. Persida Rueda Acosta debunked a spot report saying HPG men shot handcuffed John dela Riarte inside a police mobile unit only twice.
Acosta said PAO decided to examine dela Riarte's body after his family gave them a sketch from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showing that he had four gunshot wounds, not two as claimed by HPG.
PAO Forensic Laboratory Director Dr. Erwin Erfe discovered that the 27-year-old victim actually bore five gunshot wounds, and not four.
Acosta said two wounds were found in dela Riarte's lower abdomen while three more were in his chest, thigh and between his heart and liver.
She pointed out that the shots hit vital organs.
Of note, she added, was the wound in the back of dela Riarte's thigh because it supposedly indicates that the victim was shot while facing away from the policemen.
The PAO chief also said the victim was shot point-blank, as shown by the gunpowder traces on his body.
From this, Acosta said PAO concluded dela Riarte's death was intentional and done execution style.
"Nagkaroon ng conclusion ang ating Forensic Laboratory nila na intentional killing ito at execution style dahil ang tinamaan sa kanya -- kanyang dibdib, pagitan ng puso at atay -- hindi talaga mabubuhay doon e," she said.
(Our Forensic Laboratory concluded that it was an intentional killing done execution style. Dela Riarte was shot in the chest and between his heart and lungs -- you can't survive from that.)
"Murder talaga ito, hindi ito just to incapacitate him."
(This is clearly murder and was not just meant to incapacitate him.
Dela Riarte was on his way to work last July 29 when his motorcycle hit a vehicle at EDSA-Estrella intersection.
Responding officers said dela Riarte was rude and even slammed his helmet at the car he grazed.
Photos and video clips from concerned citizens show dela Riarta was already handcuffed before he was dragged to a waiting police mobile.
But the HPG spot report said dela Riarte allegedly attempted to grab the gun of PO3 Jeremiah de Villa, prompting PO2 Jonjie Manon-og to shoot him.
Acosta said there is no CCTV footage or proof that the handcuffed victim attacked de Villa and Manon-og.
On the contrary, she said an eyewitness gave PAO footage of the policemen punching dela Riarte.
The victim, she said, was also carrying some P33,000 in cash which was never found.
PAO has filed criminal charges against the HPG men, including murder, robbery and violation of the Anti-Torture Act.
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