Philippine economy

CCTV in Genesis Argoncillo’s detention cell broken on day of killing

Rambo Talabong
Genesis 'Tisoy' Argoncillo is believed to have been beaten to death by co-detainees on June 19

BROKEN CCTV. The detention cell where Genesis Argoncillo was beaten to death has a CCTV camera, but it does not function. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – As Quezon City cops scramble to pin down the killers of Genesis Argoncillo, some detainees couldn’t help but ask: why not just replay the footage?

At the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 4 detention cell where Argoncillo was beaten to death, a white CCTV camera is installed at the corner of the ceiling, glaring at its detainees with its red LED lights. 

It turns out, the gadget did not serve its purpose as it was not functioning on the night Argoncillo was killed. 

This much is evident with how police have pursued their investigation, as detectives have interrogated inmates about what they saw the night before instead of citing documentary evidence. 

Cops of QCPD Station 4 Rappler has spoken to admitted that the CCTV did not work, but they added that the camera has been broken for a long time already. 

They could not have it returned, one cop said, because the receipt was lost. 

Two co-detainees of Argoncillo have been named as suspects in the killing: Richard Bautista and Justine Mercado, both believed to be members of a certain “Sputnik Gang”.

The suspects have been transferred to the custody of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, which leads the investigation. – 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.