A FOUR-YEAR-OLD girl died at a hospital in Dumaguete City around noon Thursday after fighting for her life since Tuesday evening when she was shot during a police drug bust in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.
Althea Fhem Barbon was the daughter of Aldrick Barbon of Barangay Poblacion, Guihulngan, the subject of the operation.
The elder Barbon was declared dead on arrival at the Guihulngan District Hospital. He was tagged as the number five personality in the drugs watchlist of the city police.
Initial investigation showed that Barbon had used his daughter as a “human shield” during an exchange of fire with police operatives.
Dr. Jess Cañete, special investigator and chief of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Oriental, said that his father did not actually use her as a “human shield,” based on his motu propio investigation conducted on Thursday in Guihulngan.
Barbon had apparently brought the girl with him to the designated place where the supposed “shabu” transaction would have taken place but the two undercover policemen – one driving the motorcycle and the other, an undercover poseur-buyer – did not notice her at all, Cañete said.
He added that the police had told him they saw what looked like a bundle that Barbon was carrying with him.
Cañete said that based on his investigation, Barbon arrived at the designated area and parked his motorcycle close enough to where the undercover police were waiting.
Barbon, however, sensed that they were policemen and allegedly pulled his caliber .38 revolver and aimed at them but did not fire.
The poseur-buyer, who was seated behind the driver, fired the first shot at Barbon, apparently to neutralize him, hitting him on the side, Cañete said.
Barbon managed to drive away on his motorcycle for about 75 meters with the two policemen pursuing him. A second shot rang out, according to witnesses who Cañete had talked to in Guihulngan.
When the suspect fell from his motorcycle, the policemen discovered he had a child with him.
Cañete said he believes the bullet that pierced through the girl’s father’s back also hit the girl.
The child was transferred to Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete City, where she expired around noontime Thursday.
The police recovered from the crime scene a caliber .38 revolver with five live ammunition, one sachet of suspected shabu, a P500 bill, four sachets of suspected shabu, a mobile phone, and a Kawasaki KLX motorcycle. (PNA)