Wednesday August 15, 2018

Nalzaro: Are the police lying?

THE allegation that one of the assailants of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 agent Von Rian Tecson who was hit during the exchange of gunfire is a policeman will bolster the claim of the “former political has-been” that the spate of killings in Metro Cebu is being perpetrated by policemen.

Witnesses said they saw Tecson hit one of the gunmen riding in tandem on two motorcycles. While the assailant was sprawled on the ground, his companions on board a red Pajero with plate number GHD 753 lifted him inside the vehicle. Then those in the Pajero finished off Tecson with a volley of gunfire. Tecson died on the spot while his driver, Arnold Bauyahan, was wounded.

The wounded assailant was then reportedly brought by his companions to the South General Hospital in the City of Naga. He was later transferred to a private hospital in Cebu City.

A nurse on duty revealed the identity of the victim as SPO1 Roderick Balili, as claimed by the persons who brought him to the hospital. They said he was a policeman who was accidentally wounded in a firing range in Pinamungajan town. There were conflicting reports about Balili’s medical status. Some said he was in critical condition while others said he expired Thursday morning.

The “former political has-been” was the first to mention the name of Balili, who is presently assigned with the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) directly under the operational control of R2 (intelligence division) of PRO 7. He even said that the policeman is on his list. I don’t know what list he is saying. I also received the same information about Balili’s identity.

According to reliable sources within the police community, Balili was formerly with the Provincial Intelligence and Investigation Branch (PIIB) directly under Supt. Rodulfo Albutra. When the new administration took over, PIIB elements were transferred to other regions. Balili managed to return to PRO 7 and was assigned at the RSOG.

But PRO 7 Chief Debold Sinas has another version of this story. He said that Balili was wounded when his gun accidentally fired while he was conducting surveillance in Pinamungajan. Whatt? It’s like in the case of Tejero barangay councilor Jessielou Cadungog and the late PO3 Eugene Calumba. Sinas insisted that Calumba was the victim.

But why did it take our police officials time to come up with that version? Are they hiding something? They claimed that hospital authorities failed to coordinate with them. Isn’t it standard operating procedure that in every medico-legal case that reaches the hospital, its personnel will report immediately to the police? Now, they are saying that hospital authorities did not coordinate with them?

Come on. If the police would claim that Barili is not involved in the killing of Tecson, then they should present him to the media and match his physical profile with the image in the CCTV footage taken near the crime scene or the description by witnesses? Is this not another ploy by our police officials ostensibly to erase the public’s suspicion that the police are involved in the spate of killings?