Lack of counter-affidavits could delay case vs Carbon cops
INVESTIGATORS from the National Bureau of Investigation should have taken the sworn statements of the three policemen now facing charges for the death of four-year-old Bladen Skyler Abatayo, says the Commission on Human Rights (CHR-7).
CHR Regional Director Arvin Odron, said he had reservations about the filing of the cases considering that it did not include the counter-affidavits of the policemen involved.
“As a legal practitioner and as head of a regional investigative agency, I have reservations on the filing by the NBI of a bunch of criminal and administrative cases against police officers from Station 5 of Cebu City Police Office. It would have been different if the respondent police officers voluntarily submitted themselves to the investigation conducted by the NBI for the latter to appreciate their countervailing evidence and ruled on the case fairly,” Odron told Cebu Daily News in a text reply.
Despite the filing of the charges against three personnel of the Carbon Police Station, Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas believes that finding justice for four-year-old Bladen Skyler Abatayo still has a long way to go.
Odron said the police made the same “strategy” of not showing up during the independent investigation conducted by the CHR.
“While the cases were endorsed to the Ombudsman, the latter will again issue a subpoena to submit counter-affidavit. I am am sure they are only buying enough time to prepare their legal defenses,” Odron said.
“We cannot conclude yet as to the legal accountability of the respondents as they still have the opportunity to counter the allegations before the Office of the Ombudsman. Although these circumstances, considered altogether, may prove something, this is not conclusive proof of their criminal and administrative accountability,” he added.
The NBI, in their complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) through Ombudsman Visayas, said they invited the police officers to issue a statement but none of them appeared at the regional office.
The police officers charged were Carbon Police station commander Senior Insp. John Kareen Escober for falsification by a public officer, dereliction of duty, obstruction of justice and grave misconduct; PO1 Rey Van Dadula for dereliction of duty and PO1 Wilbert Perez for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide.
Odron also said they will continue with their independent investigation on Skyler’s death even if charges have already been filed.
“Yes, we are going to complete our own independent investigation despite the fact that the NBI already filed criminal and administrative complaints against police officers from Station 5, CCPO… Should we find human rights violation resulting to a crime, we will endorse our report to the Ombudsman MOLEO and expect the latter office to consolidate our case with the case filed by the NBI,” Odron said.
“But should we find no human rights violation, we will close our investigation at the level of our Office and will no longer endorse the case to the Ombudsman,” he added.
Meanwhile, after the tirade of Cebu City Police director Royina Garma against the NBI because of the cases filed against the three policemen, lawyer Dominador Cimafranca, OIC NBI regional director said he is willing to discuss the issue and clarify matters, if only to prove that there was nothing personal in the filing of the cases.
“We are willing to sit down and thresh out kini (referring to the investigation of Abatayo),” Cimafranca said.
Garma had ranted about the filing of the cases by the NBI against the police officer, saying this caused a demoralization in the police ranks.
“Anticipated ko na NBI will do their best to demoralize the PNP lalo na ang (especially the) Cebu City police,” said Garma in an earlier interview.
“I don’t know why, they are supposed to be our partners,” she added.
But despite Garma’s harsh words, Cimafranca still believes both agencies could still have a good relationship.
“At present, our relationship with the police remains steadfast and strong,” he said.
“Ang NBI is a valued partner of the other law enforcement agencies in our fight against all forms of criminality,” he said.
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