‘ACCIDENTAL FIRING’ CASE
The policeman who accidentally shot himself succumbed to two gunshot wounds on the chest, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) announced yesterday.
SPO1 Roderick Balili passed away at Cebu Doctors’ Hospital in Cebu City past 8 p.m. on Friday, according to Supt. Reyman Tolentin, spokesperson of PRO-7.
The news about his death came just nine hours after his superiors at the Central Visayas police said he was in a stable condition.
The pronouncement regarding Balili’s condition was made during a press conference the PRO-7 held on Friday to belie earlier reports reaching Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, which said that Balili was among the persons who ambushed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) senior agent Von Rian Tecson in Carcar City last Wednesday, August 8, and that he was shot and wounded by Tecson before the PDEA agent was finished off by his assailants.
In Friday’s press conference, PRO-7 director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas said there was no way that Balili was involved in Tecson’s ambush because the policeman was in Pinamungajan town at that time for a surveillance operation and that he had accidentally shot himself.
Balili, who has been in the police service for 14 years, succumbed to two gunshot wounds on the chest, said Tolentin.
“Doctors failed to save him. Perhaps, his body already gave up,” said Tolentin in an interview on Saturday.
Following the report of his death, condolences poured in from the different police units in Cebu.
Balili’s remains lie in state at St. Peter’s Funeral Homes along Imus Street in Cebu City. (see sidebar story)
Police officials yesterday reiterated that what happened to Balili was an accident.
Sinas, on Friday, had explained that Balili accidentally shot himself on the chest while he and two other policemen were inside a car in the southwestern town of Pinamungajan town to conduct surveillance operations on a drug suspect on Wednesday. Pinamungajan is about 30 kilometers from Carcar City where Tecson was ambushed.
Sinas said that since the killing of Tecson and the “accidental” shooting of Balili happened almost at the same time on Wednesday afternoon, it was misconstrued that the two incidents were related.
No blotter report
Chief Insp. Alfredo Kuhay, Pinamungajan police chief, yesterday said there was no blotter report involving the wounding of Balili.
He said he received a phone call from a concerned citizen about the shooting incident in the town, but his men did not verify it because the caller did not give a specific location.
“We decided not to write it on the blotter,” Kuhay said in an interview.
Tolentin explained that Balili was seated at the back seat of a Toyota Altis when the driver, another policeman assigned at the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG), handed over Balili’s service firearm, a Glock 9mm pistol.
“Accordingly, the driver gave the gun to him (Balili) while he was driving. The car passed a hump on the road and he accidentally shot himself,” he said.
Tolentin said there was nothing unusual with Balili hitting himself with his own gun in his chest.
“That is not unusual. His service firearm was Glock 9mm, an automatic pistol which can fire multiple shots in just one click of the trigger especially when it is loaded,” Tolentin explained.
“Maybe when Balili accidentally pulled the trigger, it fired twice,” he added.
Tolentin said they have witnesses who can prove that the gunman who tried to finish off Tecson was short in height, and that it was not Balili.
Tecson was about 100 meters from his house in Barangay Perrelos, Carcar City, past 1 p.m. on Wednesday when he was repeatedly shot by four men on board two motorcycles.
Before he succumbed to his injuries, Tecson was able to fire back and hit one of the gunmen who tried to open the door of the front passenger seat where the agent was seated.
The wounded gunman was rescued by his companions who fled on board a red Mitsubishi Pajero and brought him to a hospital.
Although talks were already rife in the afternoon of Wednesday that the gunman was a policeman, police officials in Cebu were tightlipped, saying they could not get into the hospital because it had its own protocol.
Police investigators said they still could not locate the wounded suspect although they now have leads.
But Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña on Thursday told reporters at Cebu City Hall that the suspect who got wounded in a shootout with Tecson was purportedly Balili, a policeman, based on an “unverified” report that he received.
Osmeña said the police officer had been on his “not-so-nice” list.
Tolentin, however, said Balili has no derogatory records throughout his stint as a policeman.
Balili, who joined the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2004, was assigned at the Regional Public Safety Battalion and was later transferred to Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO).
His last assignment was with the RSOG.
“He is a multi-awarded police officer. He received awards in his years of service, including a Medalya ng Kasanayan (PNP Efficiency Medal) and Medalya ng Kagitingan (PNP Medal of Valor),” said Tolentin.
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