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CHR questions circumstance of QC ‘shootout’

Posted by Abi Kwok on March 5, 2009

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 19:03:00 03/05/2009

MANILA, Philippines — A forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on three alleged car thieves who allegedly shot it out with policemen in Quezon City last February 23 questioned the circumstances of the incident, saying preliminary findings indicated the suspects were shot in the back.

Dr. Racquel Fortun, a consultant of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), also pointed out “inconsistencies” between the CHR-led autopsy and that conducted by the Quezon City Police District.

“There are differences and that’s why I really would prefer, I want to see for myself. And the work is still continuing,” Fortun said at a press conference on Thursday, even as she stressed that her findings were preliminary and they would still need to coordinate with the Quezon City police.

Nevertheless, she said the autopsy report of the Quezon City police mixed up its description of the injuries on the slain suspects’ bodies.

“In one body, it was reported that the clavicle was fractured, but definitely it was not. And I think there was some confusion because that description [was] meant for a particular body and yet it was actually seen on a different body,” Fortun said.

The preliminary results of the autopsy performed on Romeo de Guzman, Ronald Batapa, and Alfredo Pimentel showed all three had been shot in the head.

De Guzman bore “at least two gunshot wounds on the head,” specifically the back. He also suffered several superficial injuries, including projectile injuries in the arms, possibly caused by debris from gunshots.

Batapa, who was shot once in the head, had a severely fractured jaw.

Fortun wondered why Batapa was shot in the buttocks, the bullet completely fracturing the right thigh bone before exiting through the lower part of the thigh.

She said a gunshot wound in the thigh was “hard to believe” because the suspects were presumed to be sitting inside their vehicle during the alleged shootout.

Pimentel, on the other hand, suffered a “severe” gunshot wound to the head that lacerated his brain and fractured his skull.

Pimentel, who was found sitting in the front seat of the car, was shot three times in the back, the bullets piercing his lungs and even his aorta.

“How come the injuries were at the back?” Fortun said. “I can’t imagine how that could have happened. Maybe they were probably exposed [in] the back at the time of the shooting.”

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