CHR, police do back-to-back probe on Banacon operation

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Apple Ta-as, Jhunnex Napallacan, Leo Udtohan, Nestle L. Semilla June 01,2016 - 11:01 PM
 Victor and Susana Montes ask the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the circumstances behind the shooting to death of their son John Jason in Banacon Island, Getafe, Bohol. They have agreed to have the body of their son autopsied. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Victor and Susana Montes ask the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the circumstances behind the shooting to death of their son John Jason in Banacon Island, Getafe, Bohol. They have agreed to have the body of their son autopsied. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

AS THE Commission on Human Rights starts its probe on the police operation that resulted in the killing of suspected drug lord Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria and two of his men and the wounding of another, in Banacon Island, Getafe, Bohol, the police are likewise conducting its own investigation into claims that what happened was a rubout.

Supt. Henry Biñas, head of the Regional Investigation and Detection Management Branch (RIDMB) said they are waiting for the results of the paraffin tests on the three slain suspects.

He has also requested the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations task Group in Central Visayas (RAIDSOTG-7) to submit a report on the operation conducted at dawn of May 28 to serve a warrant of arrest on Secretaria.

“We are investigating it. But I don’t think there was a rubout. If that was the case, our troops would have killed everyone in the area so there won’t be any witnesses,” he said.

He said it is possible that drug operators in the island are using children to testify against policemen to stop them from taking control of the area.

FORENSIC

Meantime, the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights is arranging for a forensic team from their Central Office to come to Cebu and conduct an autopsy on the body of 22-year-old John Jason Montes, one of the fatalities during the police operation in Banacon Island.

Susana Montes, John Jason’s mother, had sought the assistance of CHR-7 to look into the circumstances behind her son’s death. She has already agreed to have her son’s remains autopsied.

CHR-7 Investigation Division Officer in Charge Leo Villarino also coordinated with their office in Bohol to contact the relatives of the other victims to see if they would agree to have the bodies of their relatives autopsied.

However, the body of one of the slain suspects, Dario Torremocia was already buried yesterday afternoon at the Banacon cemetery, while the remains of Secretaria will be laid to rest today, said Banacon Barangay Captain Rodrigo Ismael.

The interment of Montes is scheduled next week.

The lone survivor in that raid, 26-year-old Ricardo Ostolano is still recuperating from gunshot wounds at the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City.

According to SPO3 Francisco Lugod Jr. of the Getafe Police Station, Ostolano is now in stable condition and is under guard at the hospital.

He is the only one of Secretaria’s cohorts who survived. Ostolano, who hails from Calituban Island, Talibon town, is also a suspected drug dealer and is facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

WITNESS

The child witness who claimed that she saw Secretaria and Montes shot by the police while in the act of surrendering, continues to live in Banacon Island.

Her family has no plans of putting her under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Earlier, Cebu City Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña said they are willing to help the child but the parents should come to her office first.

“You cannot say no to a child for her protection and possible social intervention,” Osmeña said.

A person close to the family said “Ana” (not her real name) lives in the island with her father.

The island has an area of roughly three hectares and has a mangrove forest. Around 4,000 people live on the island, one of several island barangays under the town of Getafe.

Police Regional Office Director, Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador said he would put a police force in the island in order to curb illegal drugs. He said Banacon has become a transshipment point for the illegal drug trade.

Ismael welcomed the move to put a police detachment, saying it would secure the island, especially because the island is isolated.

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