Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

CHR chair will continue QC ‘shootout’ probe

Posted by Abi Kwok on March 10, 2009

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 15:22:00 03/10/2009

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Leila de Lima said she is not inhibiting herself from the agency’s investigation into last month’s controversial deaths of three car theft suspects at the hands of police.

“I hate to disappoint PAO [Public Attorney’s Office] and the PNP [Philippine National Police],” De Lima told a press conference Tuesday. “It is not going to happen for CHR to stop or terminate the investigation or my inhibition from the case.”

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta had asked De Lima to inhibit herself from investigating what police insist was a legitimate encounter but other quarters claim was a rubout, after television news footage showed what appeared to be policemen firing at apparently immobilized suspects.

De Lima also defended her reactions during a television interview, which she said were of “shock, outrage, and frustration” over the incident that should not be interpreted as prejudging the case.

Meanwhile, forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine pointed out “irregularities” she said were “tantamount to fabrication” in the Quezon City Police District’s (QCPD) autopsy report.

Fortun said QCPD medico-legal officers failed to take out the organs of Alfredo Pimentel, Romeo de Guzman, and Ronaldo Batapa during the autopsy, but listed down the organs’ weights in their report.

She said taking out the organs to weigh them is standard operating procedure in any autopsy. But when the CHR-led forensic team conducted an autopsy on the three bodies, they discovered the organs were still intact.

“I felt this was highly irregular because that is tantamount to fabricating results… I believe this is a serious infraction,” Fortun told reporters.

Because of this, De Lima criticized the police for conducting “sloppy autopsies” and said the CHR is studying the possibility of filing administrative and criminal charges against the QCPD medico-legal team.

She said that they will also be raising the issue to the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC).

“At the very least raises this question of ethics in the medical profession and would open criminal prosecution for possible falsification of public documents because SOCO [Scene of the Crime Operative] reports or medico legal reports are supposed to be public documents,” she added.


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