The Commission on Human Rights in the Ilocos Region ordered the Philippine National Police to submit documents and pieces of evidence in their possession on the extra-judicial killing of Jose “Pepe” Manegdeg III.
BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Posted by Bulatlat
SAN ESTEBAN, Ilocos Sur (363 kms. North of Manila)– The Commission on Human Rights in the Ilocos Region ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) of this town to submit documents and pieces of evidence in their possession pertaining to the extra-judicial killing of Jose “Pepe” Manegdeg III.
Manegdeg, a staff of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), was shot dead before midnight on November 28, 2005 along the highway after a tricycle driver brought him there to wait for a bus to Manila.
The suspect allegedly alighted from a van, drew his gun and when Manegdeg noticed this, he attempted to run away but was shot. Autopsy reports showed that Manegdeg had 22 gun shot wounds.
On March 19, the CHR team dropped by this town’s PNP station after they visited the lone witness to the killing of Pepe in Barangay Apatot of this town.
Lawyer Anita Chauhan, regional director of the CHR in Ilocos Region, said they may build the case based on the documents and evidence in the possession of the local PNP.
Among the documents considered by the director were the suspect’s sketch by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the photo gallery where the witness identified the alleged culprit in the person of Capt. Joel Castro.
Chauhan, along with her staff and Florence, the widow of Manegdeg, visited the lone witness who earlier in the investigation retracted his sworn statement vital to the identification of the culprit and the resolution of a high-profile case of extra-judicial killing.
Chauhan offered protection to the witness.
Immediately after the killing of Manegdeg, the PNP created Task Force Manegdeg to solve the case. Police claimed that with the support of the lone witness, they were able to make a cartographic sketch of the suspect who was identified from a photo gallery after.
With a photo and identity of the suspect, the police believed that the case could have been solved. But in a turn of events, the Provincial Prosecutor of this province dismissed the complaint in a resolution it issued on March 30, 2007 on the basis that the original statement of the witness submitted was a photocopy which violates the rules on evidence.
The sworn statement categorically declared that the witness could not identify the armed person.
The witness’ supplemental statement, which was a retraction of his original statement, was issued on March 7, 2007.
Chauhan said the CHR can exercise its power to summon appropriate agencies needed in the build up of a case and finally help in its prosecution. Northern Dispatch/Posted by Bulatlat.com