The Department of Justice will ask the Malolos City regional trial court to issue hold departure orders against seven policemen who were charged with murder for the killing of six civilians in a “sham” illegal drugs buy-bust operations in 2020 in Bulacan.
Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said the filing of a motion for the issuance of HDOs was already instructed by Prosecutor General Benedictor Malcontento.
Villar made the disclosure even as she admitted that the whereabouts of the seven accused remain unknown
“We do not know if the PNP (Philippine National Police) knows their whereabouts,” she said, adding that the issuance of HDOs would be a safeguard against the accused from leaving the country and evade prosecution.
Charged before the court were PSSG Benjie D. Enconado, PSSG Irwin Joy M. Yuson, PCPL Marlon M. Martus, PCPL Edmund V. Catubay, Jr., PCPL Harvy C. Albino, PCPL Herbert L. Hernandez, and PAT Rusco Virnar A. Madla, who were all assigned at the Intelligence Section/City Drug Enforcement Unit (IS/CDEU) of the San Jose Del Monte City Police Station in Bulacan.
They were charged with six counts of murder and six counts of arbitrary detention in violation of the Articles 248 and 124, respectively, of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
Under the criminal cases filed before the RTC, the seven policemen were accused of killing Chamberlain S. Domingo, Chadwin D.R. Santos, Edmar S. Aspirin, Richard C. Salgado, Erwin N. Mergal, and Jim Joshua Cordero.
The DOJ resolution stated that there were “three (3) fabricated buy-bust operations conducted by the said police officers supposedly on 14, 15, and 18 February 2020 against the victims, but in truth and in fact, no buy-bust operation was ever conducted against them.”
“The reality, based on evidence submitted by the National Bureau of Investigation—Death Investigation Division, was that the victims were unlawfully and forcibly taken on 13 February 2020 at Towerville, Barangay Sto. Cristo, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan,” the resolution said.
It cited that the victims just happened to pass by the area where a buy-bust operation took place.
“The eye-witness account of a person who was tasked to watch over the victims while they were being unlawfully detained inside the Intel Room of the IS/CDEU, and photographs depicting the victims, all blindfolded and hand-tied, among others, supported the indictment of the above named police officers,” the resolution noted.
Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the seven police officers have already been dismissed from the service.
In a statement, Eleazar said that he himself signed the dismissal order against the policemen.