Philippines

Carranza nixes Chong’s torture claims in Cainta armed encounter

Carranza nixes Chong’s torture claims in Cainta armed encounter

By Saul Pa-a

CAMP GEN. VICENTE LIM, Calamba City (Philippines News Agency)– Chief Supt. Edward Carranza, Calabarzon Police Regional Director, on Tuesday dismissed allegations of lawyer Glen Chong that the latter’s close-aide Richard Yamba Santillan was tortured and not engaged in any form of illegal activities.

“This is a very serious allegation and we would not let these allegations taint the credibility of the members of the Police Regional Office CALABARZON and the entire PNP in general,” Carranza said in a statement, quoting a tabloid report that “Santillan was allegedly tortured before he was killed.”

In Tuesday’s press conference at the regional headquarters conference hall, Carranza presented details and updates on the armed encounter last Dec. 10 which transpired around 1 a.m. at Block 17, Road 34 Planters at the Westbank Floodway in Barangay San Andres in Cainta, Rizal.

The alleged armed encounter resulted in the death of Santillan, 45, close-aide and bodyguard of Chong, and resident of Muralla Street in Metropolis Village, Pasig City.

“Santillan was not always present 24/7 contrary to Chong’s claims, the mere fact that the aide had separate activities and even used Chong’s car for other purposes,” Carranza said, citing the case is on the Toyota Fortuner NOF 845 which refused to oblige to police standard flag-down operation and not about a political issue on the lawyer’s crusade against poll fraud.

A lady passenger Gessamyn Generales Casing alias “Myn Myn”, 39, and resident of Doña Soledad, Labangal, General Santos City, believed to be Santillan’s girlfriend was also killed during the incident.

“These past few days, we are being bombarded with baseless accusations surrounding the death of Richard Santillan in which Atty. Glen Chong even tagged our operating teams as “Murder Team” of PNP,” Carranza said.

He vowed to ensure that justice is served, stressing there is an official scientific-based investigation by a team of forensic and crime lab experts to dig their probe deeper.

Carranza called for fact-based probes and avoid mere speculations arising out of an alleged shootout, the bullet trajectory, perforations in Chong’s car and the gunshot wounds in the victims’ bodies.

He also assured that these findings by crime laboratory and the Public Attorney’s Office would be challenged in court and even allowed his uniformed personnel to testify based on their operational procedures and face charges accordingly and that police initial reports have been relayed to the concerned families who are following the investigations.

“Let’s not drag the victim arising from this incident into one’s quest for political position,” Carranza said, stressing “out of delicadeza, let us not drag the entire PNP organization for one’s media mileage.”

He disclosed that he has invited Chong for a meeting last Saturday to clarify the lawyer’s “torture” allegations, but the latter turned it down and another appointment with Chong which was arranged Monday in Camp Crame was also refused.

He also assured the public that the investigations would be based on facts and that the police officers involved, the arms used in the shooting incident have been subjected to examinations and tests by the crime laboratory.

“So, we will wait for the result of whoever shot and used his firearm and on the trajectory of the firearm to get a real picture of what really happened during that early morning shooting incident,” he said, assuring there’s no cover-up and those proven guilty will have to face the consequences of their actions.

Meanwhile, Supt. Pierre Paul F. Cardio, medico-legal officer, forensic expert and chief of the Rizal Provincial Police Crime Lab , said their initial findings did not find hematoma arising from torture and that Santillan incurred gunshot wounds in his head; in the thorax both in front and at the back; gunshot wounds in the wrists, hands and feet.

“Yung mga wounds sa harap at sa likod, wala pong pasa. At yung mga grazed gunshot wounds sa paa, na natanggal ang kuko at hindi po injuries sustained nang tumama ang bala sa hinlalaki sa kanan,” he explained to clarify that there is no torture to indicate the nail has been forcibly removed and the grazed gunshot wound and not lacerated wound at the lumbar region.

Calabarzon Police Regional Intelligence Division (RID) officer-in-charge Supt. Serafin F. Petalio II also presented significant information on the involvement of Richard Santillan on illegal activities as he briefed media on the historical background of the “Highway Boys” and their atrocities and modus operandi.

“Highway Boys” is an organized crime group involved in illegal drug activities, robbery hold-up, gun-for-hire and possession of high and low-powered firearms operating in Cainta, Taytay, Rizal and Pasig City,” Petalio said.

According to Petalio, the highway boys were involved in killings of previous cohorts who failed to remit income from drug money and were notorious of liquidating their victims, pouring cement to their victims stuffed in drums or barrels or even burned before these were thrown into the riverbanks and into Laguna Lake.

Their illegal activities were uncovered as early as Dec. 2016 when cemented, hogtied and mutilated bodies were fished out from the Westbank Floodway in Barangay San Andres in Cainta, Rizal as reported by then Cainta chief of police Supt. Marlon Red Gnilo.

Robbery hold-up incidents by the alleged members of the Highway Boys and the ensuing armed encounters with Cainta police were also reported in July 2017; buy-busts that led to an armed encounter and the killing of a Cainta deputy chief of police Senior Inspector Senosin on Feb. 12, 2018.

Petalio also presented to media the link diagram tracing Santillan’s involvement with the Highway Boys, his involvement in selling/delivering illegal drugs in Cainta, Rizal using the Toyota Fortuner NOF 845 which Glen Chong claimed was registered under his name but turned out to be registered under a certain Jo Ann Chong.

Police have traced that the luxury vehicle has been used by the “Highway Boys” financier and supplier alias “Barry” and his group for the guns and illegal drugs to be distributed by Santillan with his girlfriend Gessamyn Generales Casing who is a cousin of the “Highway Boys” syndicate leader Jun Lagum Augis.

Police intelligence monitoring report and concerned citizens and informants in the area of transaction said Santillan frequented the house of Jun’s father Fred Augis at Block 3, Westbank Floodway in San Andres, Cainta.

“Santillan also introduced himself as a police officer,” Petalio said, citing confidential agents provided the information about Santillan as the one who drove the Toyota Fortuner for selling/distributing drugs in Pasig City, Rizal province and even up to Bulacan. (PNA)

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