CHR probes killings in Leyte

Ranulfo Docdocan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2017 03:56 AM

LEYTE - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Eastern Visayas has launched an investigation into the death of two women in Leyte who are believed to be victims of summary killings.

CHR 8 Director Atty. Desiree Pontejos said they are taking a closer look to these cases because if police involvement is any indication, the cases could be considered extra-judicial killings (EJKs).

The victims identified as Ma. Berlin Patiño, 45, and Lorna Zosa, 64, were both found with gunshot wounds in their heads. Their heads were wrapped in packaging tape while their hands were also tied.

Results from the CHR investigation are expected to be released next week, Pontejos said. 

Its counterpart in law enforcement, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 8, is also conducting a parallel investigation into the killings.

According to Patiño's aunt, the victims were threatened by a police officer from Ormoc City that something will happen to them.

Patiño was arrested August 11 for shoplifting inside a store in Ormoc City. 

Her aunt said they had been shoplifting for the last five years due to poverty. 

Patiño was last seen in Tacloban City. Her body was found dumped near a canal along the highway in Barangay Balagtas, Matag-ob town almost a week later.

"Sana tulungan kami kung sino ang pumatay kay Berlin. Basta suspetsa namin, mga pulis ang may kagagawan," Patiño's aunt said.

Meanwhile, five police officers of Ormoc Police Station 1 were relieved from their posts in connection with the death of Zosa.

She was last seen August 5 after being arrested for allegedly stealing a mobile phone from a store in Ormoc City.

No charges were filed against Zosa after she asked for forgiveness from the store owner. 

But she was reportedly still brought to the police station for detention. The incident was also not recorded in the police blotter.

Almost a week later, Zosa was found dead along the highway in Kananga town.

One of the accused police officers committed suicide in the wake of the allegation.