‘KILLED LIKE AN ANIMAL’
CHR 7 looks into possible EJK amid claims that the son
of SPO4 Rondina was savagely killed while surrendering
It has become regular news. That of drug suspects being killed in police operations for allegedly shooting it out with
Until recently, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) could claim that the killings happen as a natural consequence when suspects battle it out with cops.
But that may soon change as someone from the ranks, a retired police officer, is about to tell the story of his son, Gener, a drug pusher who was killed in an anti-drug operation last Friday, “on purpose”, even though the Philippine National Police (PNP) describes the killing as “legitimate”.
Away from the official PNP version of Gener’s death, an enraged SPO4 Generoso Rondina will tell his story of the killing before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Central Visayas with four witnesses, including three girls, aged 12 to 13.
Accompanied by his witnesses, SPO4 Rondina visited the CHR-7 office in Cebu City past 1 p.m. Monday to complain against operatives of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (RAIDSOTG) and Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) who conducted the operation that led to his son’s death.
He said his son was killed on purpose “like an animal” with his lifeless body later dragged like a captured beast.
“Sobra kaayo ang ilang gibuhat sa akong anak. Morag hayop ang ilang pagtratar niini. (What they did to my son was too much. They treated him like an animal),” he told Cebu Daily News.
SPO4 Rondina, who served as a Cebu City police operative for 24 years before his retirement in 2009, knows the ins and outs of police operations.
“Okay ra baya gyud unta nako kon ilang gidakop. Wala lang gyud unta patya. Ila man hinoon gipalabas nga nisukol ang akong anak. (It would have been all right with me if they just arrested my son. But they killed him saying that my son tried to engage them in a shootout),” he said.
Although his son was involved in illegal drugs trade, SPO4 Rondina said he could not accept police claims that Gener engaged the operatives in a shootout.
“Wala man gani to siyay armas. Gani, mahadlok intawn to mogunit og armas. (My son did not possess a gun. He was even afraid to hold one),” he said.
Armed with a search warrant from Cebu RTC Judge Wilfredo Navarro at around 3 o’clock dawn on Friday, at least 20 police operatives swooped down on a house inside Cebu’s thickly populated, Barangay Carreta.
Awakened by the sound of the gates being forcibly opened, the house’s occupants, 38-year old Gener and his live-in partner, Angelica Arrioja, 21, peeped from a window in their 2nd floor bedroom and saw theraiding team.
Arrioja claims some of the policemen covered their faces with a mask.
Fearing for their lives, the couple hurriedly tried to open the vent of an air-conditioning unit inside their room to escape; but as they looked through the window, they saw that there were more cops waiting outside the house.
When the police barged into their room, Arrioja said she and Gener hugged each other as Gener pleaded to the policemen not to kill him.
“Di na ko mousab, mu-surrender ko sir, (I won’t do it again. I will surrender),” Gener reportedly said while he held his hands up in clear surrender.
Arrioja said that was the last time she saw Gener alive as she was led by operatives down the stairs.
From across the couple’s house, three children roused by the loud banging on the front door of Gener’s house, could hear him pleading for his life while begging to surrender, the young witnesses said.
“Kaduha gyud to siya ni siyagit nga mu-surrender na siya. (He shouted twice that he was going to surrender),” the 13-year-old girl witness told CDN.
In just about a second, bursts of gunfire shattered the dawn leaving next-doors neighbors scrambling for a way to look at what had just happened.
But SPO4 Rondina said, police warned Gener’s neighbors against going out of their house to check.
Gener’s other siblings and SPO4 Rondina, who lived several blocks away, were also barred from entering Gener’s house when they fled to the area immediately upon hearing news of the police operation, said SPO4 Rondina.
One of Gener’s seven siblings, who reached the scene earlier than others, took photos of Gener as his dead body was being dragged outside the house, said SPO4 Rondina, but one of the operatives took the cellular phone away and deleted the photographs.
The four witnesses, including Gener’s live-in partner, are set to execute sworn-statements to corroborate the family’s claims of a rubout.
Gener’s family also accused the raiding team of stealing the victim’s laptop, tablet, cellular phone, ring, and other jewelry.
Leo Villarino, CHR-7 lead investigator, said he will request the RAIDSOTG-RSOG to identify who among their members took part in the operation and shot Gener.
“I will ask concerned policemen to appear before our office and to explain what happened,” Villarino said in an interview.
Villarino is also seeking an official investigation report on the incident from RAIDSOTG-RSOG while results of an autopsy, conducted by PNP, have yet to be released.
Gener suffered at least four gunshot wounds on different parts of his body.
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), defended the raiding team, saying the operation was legitimate.
“We welcome any investigation by any agency. They (Gener’s family) have the right to seek CHR’s intervention if they think there were violations committed by the police. But as far as the RAIDSOTG-RSOG is concerned, the target tried to engage the operatives in a shootout,” he said.
Taliño said Gener, a suspected drug pusher, was considered a high-value target.
“The police had to be very careful in conducting the operation against him (Gener). We received reports that he was armed,” he said.
Based on the records of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), at least 142 drug suspects were killed in an alleged shootout with policemen in the region since July 1.
At least 204 other drug suspects were gunned down by still unknown assailants in the region.
Some 3,924 suspected drug pushers and users were arrested which resulted to the filing of 4,837 cases before the different prosecutor’s offices.
The CHR-7 has been monitoring over 300 suspected cases of extrajudicial killings (EJK).
Of the number, only 35 cases are under formal investigation by CHR-7 as the families of other alleged EJK victims have not filed complaints against concerned police operatives.
As for SPO4 Rondina, all he wants now is justice for his son, he said.
“Dugay pud ko nga operative. Kahibaw ko unsay buhat sa police. (I worked as an operative for a long time. I know how policemen work),” he said.
Aside from his son’s killing, the retired policeman also questions the manner in which the operatives implemented the search warrant on Gener as there were no barangay officials nor media representatives around to witness the search, as mandated by law.
SPO4 Rondina said he repeatedly advised Gener to turn away from illegal drugs but his requests purportedly fell on deaf ears.
Yet still, his son did not deserve to die like an animal, said SPO4 Rondina, as the cop intends to burst the bubble of anyone who believes that he did.
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