GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 July)– The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has taken over the investigation into the killing last week of a criminology student here who was mistaken by police operatives as a carnapping suspect.
Chief Supt. Charles Calima Jr., Region 12 police director, said Tuesday the NBI has assumed jurisdiction over the case based on a request from the family of victim Randy Quirante.
The 18 year-old Quirante was gunned down by members of the city’s police station number 03 in an operation along the national highway in Barangay Baluan last July 10.
Four policemen have since been relieved and will likely face criminal and administrative charges over the incident.
“(The NBI) will handle the investigation as to the criminal liability (of the four policemen). The PNP (Philippine National Police), through the legal office, will pursue the administrative part,” Calima said.
The official said he has ordered the relief of the accused policemen — Police Officer (PO) 2 Arnold Sua, PO2 Ariel Beldera, PO1 Rudyard Dequito and PO1 John Rey Daligdig — from the city police office and their placement to restricted status at the Police Regional Office 12 headquarters in Barangay Tambler.
He said the four were transferred on Monday afternoon to the regional police’s personnel accounting and holding unit.
“They will stay there while their cases are being investigated,” he said.
Calima acknowledged that the accused policemen might have committed some lapses in the operation that led to the killing of Quirante, but noted that they have observed due process with regards to the investigation and the filing of charges.
Initially, he said the four policemen earlier yielded positive during the mandatory paraffin tests.
He added they are still waiting for the results of the drug tests on the four and the ballistic examination.
Quirante, who was a Bachelor of Science in Criminology student of the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges (RMMC) here, and a classmate were on their way home to Barangay Spring in nearby Alabel town in Sarangani province when the incident happened.
The victim’s companion said they were motoring along the national highway in Barangay Baluan aboard separate motorcycles when they were stopped by a mobile patrol team of the police station number 03.
The patrol team has set up a checkpoint in the area in response to a flash alarm regarding a carnapped or stolen motorcycle in Barangay Lagao.
But the victim’s companion said Quirante, who was only carrying a student driver’s license, did not stop and instead sped away, prompting the policemen to pursue him.
The victim was later shot by the pursuing policemen and died before reaching a private hospital here.
City Councilor Franklin Gacal, who is assisting the victim’s family, urged police authorities to speed up their investigation on the case.
He lamented that the four accused policemen have not even yet issued their sworn statements.
“While it is true that the NBI is in charge with the criminal investigation, the PNP has the responsibility to pursue the other required processes. The public also wants to know what the PNP has been doing and how it has been handling this case,” he said.
Gacal, who is a former chief of staff of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao, said the lawmaker has provided a lawyer to assist the Quirante family. (Allen Estabillo/MindaNews)