MANILA, July 16 (Mabuhay) — Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is questioning the circumstances of the deaths of two suspected criminals in Laguna who were shot while in police custody and being transferred from Cavite on Monday night.
In a press conference in Manila, De Lima said many questions have to be answered on the deaths of Ricky Cadavero alias “Kambal” and Wilfredo Panogalinga alias “Kulot,” who were said to have been shot dead by their police escorts after the two supposedly tried escaping.
Cadavero and Panogalinga were being held for illegal possession of firearms.
The police officers were transporting Cadavero and Panogalinga back to Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna from Cavite, where the two underwent inquest proceedings when the shooting happened on Monday.
An initial police report said that at a little past 6:30 p.m., as the police convoy was passing through San Pedro, Laguna on the Magsaysay Highway, the van carrying Cadavero and Panogalinga was shot at by unknown gunmen on two motorcycles.
Superintendent Chito Bersaluna, head of the San Pedro Police, said that it was at this point that Cadavero and Panogalinga made a grab for their police escorts’ weapons.
The officers resisted and the two alleged gangster ended up getting shot. The police officers suffered minor injuries.
Meanwhile, the motorcycle-riding gunmen sped away.
The other vehicle in the police convoy then rushed Cadavero and Panogalinga to the nearest hospital, but they were declared “dead on arrival.”
Cadavero and Panogalinga were in police custody as they were arrested by the Philippine National Police last Friday at Barangay San Agustin 2, Dasmariñas, Cavite.
De Lima also noted how the police seemed to have taken a longer route in transporting the two suspects.
“Kung galing sila sa Dasmariñas, bakit sa San Pedro,” De Lima asked.
De Lima also slammed the announcement on Monday that the suspects had already been turned over to the Bureau of Corrections, which is under the DOJ, when in fact they have not been.
“Ano yun, moro-moro? Buti wala ako sa press conference kahapon (kung saan inannounce) kung hindi magmumukha akong tanga dun,” she said.
“Props lang ang BuCor?,” she asked.
De Lima also clarified that inquest proceedings can be conducted inside detention cells and even inside police camps in cases involving “high-risk” detainees. (MNS)