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6 cops in Failon case ‘overkill’ suspended

Posted by Abi Kwok on April 20, 2009

Napolcom transfers probe to NBI

By Abigail Kwok, Tarra Quismundo, Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 12:19:00 04/20/2009

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE 3) The National Police Commission (Napolcom) suspended six policemen, including two officers, amid allegations of overkill in their handling of a shooting incident that fatally wounded the wife of television news anchor Ted Failon, as it ordered the transfer of the case from the Quezon City police to the National Bureau of Investigation.

The six Quezon City Police District (QCPD) operatives who were slapped with administrative suspensions include Superintendent Franklin Mabanag, chief of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU); Mabanag’s deputy, Superintendent Gerardo Ratuita; Senior Inspector Roberto Razon; Senior Police Officer 3 Jose Fernando, Police Officer 2 Andy Salonga, and Police Officer 2 Reno Riparip, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said.

The 30-day suspension took effect on Monday. The Napolcom also set a 30-day period for it to finish its investigation on the possible administrative liabilities of Mabanag’s group.

“The investigation of the Napolcom will focus on two things — one, compliance with police operating procedures, and two, compliance with provisions of existing law on matters relating to arrest,” Puno said.

Mabanag and his men drew criticism for forcing the relatives of Failon’s wife, Trinidad Etong, and their house help from the New Era General Hospital, where Etong was at her deathbed, to a local court to answer charges of obstruction of justice.

The relatives and house helpers allegedly cleaned the crime scene in the Failon home, where the radio and television anchor claimed to have found his wife slumped on the floor and bloodied in the morning of April 15. Etong died from complications due to a gunshot wound on her head the following day.

To ensure impartiality in the investigation of the case, Puno said that all pieces of evidence secured by the local police will be turned over to the NBI.

“Because of all of the controversy that surrounded the manner of which this case has been handled from the beginning, it was discussed this [Monday] morning by the members of the Napolcom en banc… that effective today [Monday], the investigation of the death of the late Trinidad Etong will be turned over to the NBI,” Puno said in a news conference.

Puno said Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, under whose office the NBI operates, “consented to the move.”

The Napolcom investigating team will be composed of lawyer Owen de Luna of the Napolcom Inspection, Monitoring, and Investigation Service (NMIS) and Napolcom vice-chairman Eduardo Escueta.

Failon (Teodoro Etong in real life) has been critical of the QCPD.

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