MANILA – Prosecutors on Thursday began the preliminary investigation of the complaints against 23 police officers implicated in the death of Richard Santillan, the aide of former Biliran Representative Glenn Chong.
Assistant Prosecution Attorney Gina Yanga, a member of the panel of prosecutors handling the case, said none of the respondents appeared.
“Only their representatives from the legal department of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were present,” said Yanga, adding that they instead filed a motion for more time.
The panel gave the respondents until June 17 to refute the charges.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last May 17 filed the complaints in connection with the death of Richard Santillan, and his female companion, Gessamyn Casing, in Barangay San Andres in Cainta, Rizal.
In its complaint, the NBI named as respondents for obstruction of justice Calabarzon police regional director Brig. Gen. Edward Carranza; Cainta, Rizal provincial director, Col. Lou Evangelista; and Cainta police chief, Lt. Col. Pablito Naganag.
Two counts of murder and one count of planting of evidence were also filed against seven officers from Cainta police station led by Lt. Sandro Ortega, four officers from the provincial office of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group led by Capt. John Russel Barnacha and 10 operatives of Regional Special Operations Unit led by M/Sgt. Rene Eufracio.
Following the conduct of an investigation and forensic examination, the NBI concluded that the incident was a rubout and not a shootout, contrary to the claim of the police officers.
“The concerted acts of the above police officers, before, during and after the death of (Santillan and Casing), indubitably show causal relation, thus pointing to a joint purpose, a unity of action and a community of interest – to kill Santillan and Casing,” the complaint reads. (PNA / )