CLARK FREEPORT -- The Death Investigation Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started a separate investigation on the reported shootout at a mall here where a rookie policeman was killed.
Relatives of Police Officer 1 Jomar Batul, who was killed in an alleged shoot out with security personnel of Clark Development Corporation (CDC), sought the assistance of the NBI after discovering conflicting reports prepared by the Angeles City police and the Clark Public Safety Department.
Special Investigator Anna Lira Labao of the NBI Death Investigation Division said that they went to Angeles City to coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP), CDC management and SM City Clark to conduct an open investigation on Batul's death.
"Ang pamilya ni Jomar Batul ay nakikipagtulungan sa NBI at humihingi ng malawakang imbestigasyon upang malaman kung ano talaga ang katotohanan sa pagkakapatay sa kanilang kapatid noong Disyembre 24, 2015," Labao said.
She said that the Batul family visited Clark for their Christmas vacation.
"Unfortunately, nagkaroon nga ng ganitong insidente at sinasabi na may mga allegations of a crime committed nitong victim."
According to Labao, Batul's relatives are also thinking that the cop was a victim of "mistaken identity" because he had no clear motive in the alleged attempt to grab a motorcycle.
Labao disclosed that they discovered some inconsistencies of information they gathered from different [law enforcement] agencies.
"As we already accepted the open investigation of this case, you would expect na mayroon din kaming nakikitang inconsistencies or vacuum na hindi naman natin sinasabing pagkakasila nila kaya yun ang ating pipiliting alamin at tugunan," Labao said.
According to Labao, the CDC management made an assurance that they are open and willing to cooperate with the investigation bureau.
"In fact, sila ay pumayag at kusang loob na ipapadala ang mga persons of interest sa taggapan ng Death Investigation Division sa Manila upang sumailalim sa proseso ng pagiimbestiga ng aming opisina," she said.
She assured that the legal rights of the security personnel involved in the incident will be protected.
"Kaakibat naman nito yung pangangalaga sa kanilang natataning karapatan at kanilang legal rights. So they are free to be assisted by counsel of their own choices."
Batul, a member of the Mindoro Public Safety Battalion, was accused of trying to grab a motorcycle in front of a fast-food chain and commandeering a food catering van inside the Clark Freeport.
The NBI probe will determine if there was actual carnapping and unlawful taking of vehicle, said Labao.
"Kasi minus all of these things at hindi na-justify talaga yung shooting and a person was killed, there could be another case," she added.