THE country’s police chief said it was too soon to draw any conclusion from the statement of a witness to the death of a teenager in a Valenzuela City police anti-illegal gambling operation last Sunday.
This was the declaration of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Police General Guillermo Eleazar, who advised the public to allow the probes on the incident by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to continue and to just wait for their findings.
The PNP chief first met with the witness on Tuesday night through a meeting facilitated by some journalists. The witness personally wanted to meet PGen. Eleazar to disclose what he saw during the incident.
“Minabuti natin na i-turn over siya sa NBI upang maiwasan ang anumang pagdududa sa isinasagawa naming imbestigasyon. Pumayag naman ang witness at personal kong tinawagan si NBI Director Eric Distor tungkol dito,” said Eleazar.
In a social media post by Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gachalian, the witness contradicted the statement of the police that 18-year old Edwin Arnigo grabbed the service firearm of one of the policemen.
Based on Mayor Gatchalian’s post, the witness knows that the incident was an accident “because he saw the reaction of the policeman after the shooting.”
“I don’t want to preempt the investigations being conducted on the case, particularly that of the NBI. Ipinapaubaya po natin sa ating investigating bodies ang pag-appreciate sa development sa kaso. Noong una pa lang ay nagbigay naman na po ang PNP ng commitment na makikipagtulungan sa NBI upang mapabilis ang pagresolba ng kasong ito,” Eleazar pointed out.
“We will accept and abide by any findings of the NBI and of the IAS in the case. In the meantime, it would be prudent to wait for the outcome of the investigations being conducted,” he added.
He commended the witness who came forward to give his statement on the incident and said, “Naniniwala ako na malaki ang maitutulong nito upang mabigyang linaw ang kaso. Pero sabi ko nga, hayaan nating gumulong muna ang mga imbestigasyon sa kaso, lalo na ng NBI dahil sila ang nakakaalam ng buong salaysay ng lumutang na witness.”
Upon learning of the fatal incident, PGen. Eleazar directed the IAS to conduct a thorough probe on the incident to determine if there were procedural lapses committed by the Valenzuela policemen that could have contributed to the teenager’s death.
The policeman involved in the incident has been disarmed and placed under restrictive custody as a matter of investigative procedure.