PNP orders probe into death of teen, drug suspect in Laguna police operation

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered an investigation into the killing of 16-year-old Johndy Maglinte and drug suspect Antonio Dalit during a police operation in Biñan, Laguna, on June 16.

PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar said in a press statement on Saturday, June 19, that he has directed Calabarzon police chief Brigadier General Eliseo Cruz and the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) for the speedy investigation of the case.

“I have already instructed the RD of PRO-CALABARZON and IAS to finish the investigation in the soonest possible time and in the meantime, I ask our kababayan to let the investigations take their course,” he said.

Cruz directed the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (RIDMD) to lead a fact-finding task group.

He also ordered Captain Fernando Credo, Police Intelligence Unit (PIU) Laguna head, and nine cops who were involved in the June 16 incident to be placed under restrictive custody of Calabarzon police.

The PNP said all cops involved in the operations were subjected to paraffin testing and that ballistics examination were conducted on their firearms. The bodies of Maglinte and Dalit had been autopsied and subjected to paraffin testing.

Speak out

Eleazar urged witnesses, as well the families of Maglinte and Dalit, to help cops in their investigation.

“We are urging the families of Johndy Maglinte and Antonio Dalit and those who witnessed the incident to provide their statements to the PNP Internal Affairs Service as their narrations could help shed light on the incident,” Eleazar said.

He assured witnesses that they would be protected.

Eleazar also also welcomed an independent Commission on Human Rights investigation into the incident, and assured the commission that the PNP would cooperate in the CHR probe.

"Like the CHR, we also want to find out the truth in this incident. I assure that all police personnel involved will be made available to the CHR for the duration of its probe in the same manner that the policemen face the motu proprio investigation by the IAS and the fact-finding probe [of Calabarzon police]," he said.

Police claimed that the Maglinte and Dalit were killed when they tried to fight back while resisting arrest. Maglinte's family claimed that he was executed while handcuffed.

The PNP said that investigators from the Laguna and Calabarzon IAS had spoken to the relatives of Maglinte and Dalit to get affidavits of complaint, but the families said they were not ready to give statements yet.

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima denounced the killings – the latest in the PNP's "nanlaban (they fought back)" narrative involving drug war deaths.

“There should be prompt and effective investigations of these EJKs of our children, and perpetrators should be held accountable. Tama na ang kultura ng patayan at impunidad! (It's time to end the culture of killing and impunity!)," De Lima said on Saturday. – Rappler.com