GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 September) — The Police Regional Office 12 has dismissed from service one of the four policemen here who were earlier charged with murder in connection with the killing of a criminology student who was mistaken as a motorcycle theft suspect during a police operation in July.
Chief Supt. Charles Calima Jr., Region 12 police director, said Monday he endorsed the dismissal and separation from active service of Police Officer (PO) 2 Arnold Sua for violation of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) drug policy.
He said Sua had tested positive of metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in a drug test conducted by the city police’s scene of crime operations (Soco) unit following the controversial operation.
“His (Sua) separation order has come out already,” Calima told reporters.
The PNP’s policy guidelines regarding use of prohibited drugs has set the outright dismissal from service of any police personnel who will be tested positive of drug use.
“If a policeman turns out positive of using illegal drugs, he or she already failed to meet the continuing requirement of being a member of the PNP, that is to remain as drug-free,” the official explained.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed murder charges before the city prosecutor’s office early last month against PO2 Sua, PO2 Ariel Beldera, PO1 Rudyard Dequito and PO1 John Rey Daligdig over the killing of 18 year-old student Randy Quirante, who was gunned down in a police pursuit operation in Barangay Baluan here last July 10.
Sua is facing a separate charge for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act in connection with the drug test results.
NBI officials earlier said the complaints were based on the results of their investigation and accounts from several witnesses that identified the accused policemen as directly behind the student’s death.
Quirante, who was a Bachelor of Science in Criminology student at 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 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 shot by the pursuing policemen and died before reaching a private hospital here.
Aside from the criminal charges, Calima said the administrative proceedings are presently ongoing against the accused policemen and several other members of police station number 03.
Among those charged was PO1 Alberto Alberto, who came out during the NBI probe as present during the operation but was unarmed.
Alberto, who has turned witness against the accused policemen, was not named in the incident report earlier released by police station number 03.
Calima said Alberto and three other police station officials were charged administratively for the alleged lapses in implementing proper operational procedures. (MindaNews)