POLICE investigators found loopholes in the statement of a police official in Bogo City, Cebu, who allegedly shot and killed his daughter’s boyfriend last Friday, leading them to suspect it may not have been self-defense.
Hounded by their doubts, the family of Vincent Paul Montesclaros, 17, sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 for an autopsy and parallel inquiry.
Bruises on Montesclaros’ face led them to believe the teenager was mauled by Chief Insp. Ceferino Tabay Jr., 51, before he was killed. Tabay is the city’s deputy police chief.
Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador also sent personnel to the Bogo City Police Station yesterday to investigate. He assured there will be no whitewash.
Supt. Anthony Bagarinao, the city’s police chief, told Sun.Star Cebu they found inconsistencies in the statement of Tabay after gathering evidence and interviewing the victim’s family.
Police investigators found two empty shells of .45 pistol that Montesclaros allegedly owned in the crime scene.
In his initial interrogation, Tabay said he used his 9mm service firearm in self-defense, after the teenager tried to pull a gun out and shoot him. He didn’t clarify if there was a struggle.
When police reached the crime scene in Barangay Guadalupe past 3 p.m., Bagarinao said, Tabay brought the firearms with him and didn’t leave them in the area.
As a standard operating procedure, the guns and any other evidence should have not been moved.
“Ang iyang giingon sa amoa kay naka-engkwentro ug naka-patay siya ug armed person (He told us that he encountered and killed an armed person),” Bagarinao said.
If it was true that Montesclaros tried to shoot him, Tabay should have only immobilized the teenager and avoid firing any fatal shots, the police chief added.
A father’s job
“Dili gyud ‘ta pwede kay mao na’y gitudlo sa training ug schooling namo (What he did ran counter to what we were taught during our training),” Bagarinao said.
Montesclaros suffered seven gunshot wounds, including shots in the chest and head.
Tabay, when approached by Sun.Star Cebu, declined to comment, as advised by his lawyer.
“Maayo ‘ta makasabot ra mo. Kung sauna, kusog ko mo-entertain sa media kung naa’y pangutana, dili lang sa karon (I hope you will understand. I always answered the media’s questions before, but that’s not possible right now),” he said. He is locked up in the police station’s detention cell.
Tabay, who has served in the police force for 27 years, said there were some things that he needed to do, for the sake of his daughter.
“Ana gyud na ang kinabuhi (That’s life),” he said. He even joked that he couldn’t serve any snacks or drinks to the media from his detention cell.
In a related development, PO3 Mary Joy Ylanan of the Bogo City Police Station’s Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD) interviewed Tabay’s 16-year-old daughter last Friday night.
“She took her time answering. She just kept crying,” she said.
The girl told her that she was breaking up with Montesclaros that day because she will go to college after graduating from high school last March.
Ylanan said the boy was reportedly hurt and got mad, and then showed his .45 pistol.
The girl tried to grab the gun and it went off. Montesclaros allegedly slapped her over what happened.
Tabay, who went looking for his daughter, found them in a shack in the Don Potenciano Catarata Memorial National High School. The school is located 150 meters away from their residence, and the shooting took place some 15 meters from the shack.
The girl’s nose was reportedly bleeding.
The boy then allegedly pulled out his gun, as if attempting to shoot Tabay, but the police official shot him first.
Tabay brought Montesclaros to the Cebu Provincial Hospital but the teenager died on the way there.
Ylanan said the girl was physically examined because of the bruise on her nose.
However, the boy’s parents said they were disappointed with Tabay’s daughter for not telling the truth and for siding with her father.
Lilybeth, 36, and Paul, 37, said they have witnesses who reported that their son was mauled by Tabay first.
“Niingon pa gane kuno na akong anak nga, ‘Ayaw na sir. Maluoy ka’ (They heard my son pleading with Tabay to stop and show him some mercy),” Paul said. They are not revealing the witnesses yet out of fear that they will be threatened.
Paul said his son’s girlfriend sent text messages to their friends to ask for help because her father was beating her boyfriend up.
“Mao na ayaw ninyo baliha ang istorya. Kami pa’y namatyan, kami pa’y murag sad-an (Don’t twist the story. We’re the ones who lost a loved one, and now we’re being made to appear like we’re at fault),” Paul said.
He said his son didn’t own a gun and that Tabay was only making up a story.
“Maglisod man gani mi palit ug bugas, pusil na kaha (We can barely afford to buy rice. How could we even afford a gun)?” Paul said.
Paul recalled that his son was wearing jogging pants at that time, which would have made it difficult to conceal any gun.
Tabay underwent a paraffin test last Friday night after the Crime Scene Investigation unit arrived, but the family of Montesclaros refused to let them perform the same test on his body. The test ferrets out gunpowder burns, which indicate that a person has recently fired a gun.
“Basin iya pa lang ng gipakupot o gipabuto ang armas sa kamot sa akong anak, pulis gud na siya. Sweto gyud na (He could have easily placed a gun in my son’s hand and fired it. He should know, being a policeman),” Paul said.