HOMICIDE investigators of the Cebu City Police Office were stalled for an hour in their investigation when guards at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center last Friday didn’t allow them inside.
The team would have wanted to get details from a shooting victim.
“Giilad-ilad man mi nila. Amo untang gihangyo sa ilaha nga ang importante makapangayo mi sa pangan sa biktima ug kinsay nagpusil niya, (They deceived us. We told them it was important for us to get the name of the gunman from the victim),” SPO2 Rommel Bancog of the CCPO said.
Bancog said that after his team responded to a shooting alarm on Gen. Maxilom Ave. at 11:15 p.m., they immediately went to the hospital.
But security guards Marlon Samaco and Jerome Jaya stopped them and told them they needed the doctor’s approval.
Before that, the ambulance personnel told SPO2 Bancog that the victim was not fatally injured and could talk.
“Dako man og tabang sa imbestigasyon nga ang biktima mismo ang makasulti namo kinsay nagpusil niya aron marespondehan namo, (It’s a big help if the victim himself will tell the team who the suspect is so that we can still hunt the latter down),” Bancog said.
The victim was identified by his wife as Richard Esgana, 33, an electrician who hails from Sudlon, Lahug, Cebu City.
The incident was not the first time that the police officers and the security of VSMMC had a misunderstanding.
Police said they already brought the issue up with top management a long time ago so they could come up with a solution.
VSMMC information officer Nonoy Mongaya told them that they could conduct their investigations inside the hospital as long as they do not take pictures, said SPO2 Bancog.
But the agreement was not always followed by both parties.
Mongaya, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, said the hospital’s security agency was only following protocol.
“Regardless kung victims or suspects, they are patients of Vicente Sotto. They have rights,” Mongaya said.
Mongaya said the hospital has already talked to the police officials about the matter, but the investigators would still take pictures of the victims.
“If they say it’s for documentation, nganong makita man na sa mga newspapers (why do they come out in the papers)? Basin naay suspects dinha, ma-compromise among staff ug patients (If suspects are around, our staff and patients will be compromised),” he said.
Mongaya said police officers from the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Talisay and Cebu previously went to the hospital due to simultaneous alarms and the guards were overwhelmed when they tried to control the situation.
He said the victim from Cebu was shot in the chest and was brought directly to the operation room.
Mongaya encouraged Bancog to write a formal complaint so that the hospital can reply.
Not above law
PRO 7 Director Patrocinio Comendador said the hospital is not above the national law.
“We will have a dialogue with them. If worse turns to worst we will go to court,” Comendador said.
Comendador said that if the hospitals refuse to allow the investigators to do their job, it is already obstruction of justice.
“Kasagaran di nila pasudlon. Police ni siya. We are imposing the law and they are allowed to enter as long as it is their duty (They don’t usually allow the police in),” he said.
Comendador admitted that this was a recurring problem in the police’s coordination with the hospitals, although they have taken efforts to come up with an agreement.
He cited an incident in 2012 when a suspect allegedly ran inside the hospital and the guards also refused to let the police inside.