DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 July) — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Davao said it has started its separate probe on the July 2 shooting incident at a bar in Davao City where 19-year-old Amierkhan Mangacop was shot dead by Dr. Marvin Rey Andrew R. Pepino, a physician at the Camp Sgt. Quintin M. Merecido Hospital at the Police Regional Office (PRO) here.
This after the Office of the City Prosecutor released an order dated July 6 – a copy of which was released to the media on July 8 – directing all investigating units, including NBI-Davao, to submit additional evidence within 10 days, after the victim’s family requested the agency to handle the investigation and asked the police to inhibit from the case.
Pepino is the son of the late Maj. Gen. Marvin Manuel Pepino, who was director of the Cybercrime Investigation Office of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center.
Mangacop was a Grade 9 student at the Catalunan Grande National High School who wanted to be a seaman to help his cash-strapped family back in Maguindanao province.
NBI-Davao spokesperson Ely Leano told reporters on Friday that the agency will conduct a thorough and full evaluation of the incident.
“NBI is mandated to conduct an investigation of all forms of cases at its own initiative or when public interest so requires. In this particular case, no less than the family of the victim, through their lawyers, requested this office to intervene. Of course, we will conduct a parallel investigation with counterparts from the PNP,” he said.
The Mangacop family wanted the NBI-Davao to investigate the shooting incident as they feel the police could not be objective and fair in probing the incident amid the recent “statements and actions” of the police officers that were favorable to Pepino, suggesting, among others, that it was an “act of self-defense” after the suspect was allegedly mauled.
The suspect shot the victim following a commotion at Lugar Café and Bar at Corner V. Mapa and J. Camus Extension Streets last July 2.
Col. Albert Lupaz, director of Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said in a press conference last Monday that Pepino acted only in self-defense and that it was only because of his drunken state that he shot Amierkhan seven times.
Gibb Andrew Cabahug, the counsel for the Mangacop family, told a press conference on Friday that the police portrayed Pepino as the “victim” of the incident.
He said Pepino was the unlawful aggressor, not Amierkhan, and that the suspect was not there to pacify the commotion contrary to the claims of the police authorities.
Mangacop was at home sleeping when the commotion happened and he only went to the bar when his cousin called to be fetched, the “Justice for Amier Mangacop” Facebook page created by his family, friends, and supporters, said.
Cabahug said Pepino could not invoke self-defense as the aggression was inflicted upon the person of the victim and his cousins.
“How can you deescalate the situation if you are angry? Marvin Pepino, during these times, was very angry. He was shouting at the victim and his cousins, ‘sino kayo may ari kaayo ng shop?’ (who are you? Are you the owner of this shop?) Is that the kind of person whose intention was merely to pacify,” he said.
Leano assured the Mangacop family that the agency would “get the two sides of the story and would dig deeper in such a manner that we will arrive or come up with a well-supported and well-founded conclusion.”
He assured both parties that the investigation would be conducted on the basis of “thoroughness and legality” to avoid biases or miscarriage of justice.
In a statement on Saturday, the PRO-Davao said it recognized the right of the Mangacop family to seek assistance from NBI-Davao.
It said the complaint for murder with all the necessary documents and pieces of evidence gathered by San Pedro Police Station was already forwarded to the Office of the City Prosecutor last Monday.
A separate complaint for Section 31 of R.A. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act was also filed against the doctor. The law prohibits the carrying of a licensed firearm outside residence without permit.
“For the information of the public, an administrative complaint was already initiated and handled by our Regional Investigation and Management Division,” it said.
Juhary Guro, investigating agent of NBI-Davao, said that based on initial evidence, there is a strong case for murder against the suspect.
“We are appealing to all those persons who were there during the incident to please voluntarily cooperate with us and those, uploaders of video clips, we are appealing to voluntarily cooperate with us and submit to us the video they have taken during the incident,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)