PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa admitted Tuesday, January 2, that the shooting incident that killed two civilians in Mandaluyong City was mistake on the part of the police, but he assured that they were not condoning it.
He assured that the PNP leadership has acted on the incident and would work on improving operational procedures.
Dela Rosa said he was hoping to re-train the police on "when to shoot and when not to shoot and when to believe and when not to believe in reports" that they receive.
Dela Rosa also vowed that those found liable for the Mandaluyong shooting incident will be penalized.
"Yung nangyari sa Mandaluyong, kapalpakan talaga namin yun but at least hindi namin
kino-condone. Inaksyunan namin at mananagot ang dapat managot," Dela Rosa said in a press conference Tuesday.
Nonetheless, he defended the policemen concerned, saying the incident occurred "because of their (Mandaluyong police) performance of their duties."
"Pumunta sila, nagresponde sila dahil sa report, yun nga lang nagoyo sila sa mali na report at pagdating doon putukan na or naunang nagpaputok yung mga tanod, yung pulis namin may hawak ng baril pumutok din, gabi at kapag nagkapatukan na all hell broke loose," Dela Rosa said.
(They went to the site to respond to an alarm, not knowing that the report was erroneous. There was already a shootout when they arrived. The tanod (village watchmen) were the first to fire. Our police, who were armed, also fired at the van. It was night and all hell broke loose.)
The village watchmen and the responding policemen fired at a white Asian utility vehicle (AUV) at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and old Wack-Wack Road at about 10 p.m. of December 28.
When the gunfire ended, two people from the van had been killed and two others were wounded. Three other passengers survived.
Police later learned that one of those killed, identified as Jonalyn Ambaan, was a shooting victim and the others were trying to get her to a hospital for treatment.
Ambaan's remains, another van passenger and two watchmen had tested positive for gunpowder residue.
Dela Rosa urged Ambaan's family not to doubt the credibility of the Scene of Crime Operatives (Soco) and the results of the paraffin test.
"Scientifically proven 'yan na kapag nagpapaputok ka meron talagang powder residues na mare-recover sa skin mo (It has been scientifically proven that if you fired a gun, gunpowder residue will be recovered from your skin) so scientific evidence is the best form of evidence," Dela Rosa said.
"Mahirap 'yan i-disprove (That's hard to disprove) dahil scientifically proven yan like DNA. DNA doesn't tell a lie," he added.
Dela Rosa said the Soco can't be influenced because they follow a code of ethics and their test results are supported by scientific evidence.
The Mandaluyong incident was a case of mistaken identity.
It stemmed from a heated argument between a group of construction workers and their neighbors in Addition Hills.
Ambaan was reportedly shot when she intervened.
Her partner, Eliseo, and five others were trying to bring her to a hospital when the watchmen chased and fired at their vehicle, thinking they were the suspects in that first shooting incident.
The watchmen later told the responding Mandaluyong policemen that they were shooting at the suspects, prompting the police to jump into the gunfight.
Aside from Ambaan, Jomar Hayaun was also killed while Danilo Santiago, like Eliseo, was critically wounded. (SunStar Philippines)