2 HPG cops deny murdering motorcyclist, ask DOJ to dismiss raps against them

MANILA — Two members of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), tagged in the killing of rider John dela Riarte inside their patrol car on July 29, denied on Friday allegations of murder, torture and robbery and asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the case against them.

PO3 Jeremiah De Villa and PO2 Jonjie Manon-og appeared before the DOJ and submitted separate counter-affidavits.

In their affidavits, they claimed that Dela Riarte attempted to snatch their firearms twice –first, when De Villa approached him when he was allegedly kicking and smashing a car using his crash helmet and second, when he was inside the patrol vehicle while on their way to Camp Crame.

“Any and all the acts I have done were in furtherance of the performance of my duties,” the duo said in their counter affidavits.

De Villa said when Dela Riarte tried to snatch his firearm, Dela Riarte told him he would shoot the man inside the vehicle.

He said MMDA constables Bayani B. Batac III and Jeslie M. Manlangit tried to subdue Dela Riarte but he was tall and strong, thus he hit him in the stomach and the side of his abdomen.

Manon-og, in his counter-affidavit said that while on their way to Camp Crame, Dela Riarte headbutted him and tried to grab his service firearm.

Manon-Og said while Dela Riarte was able to hold it and I kept holding/grappling with him and I shouted at PO3 Jeremiah De Villa, “hepe inagaw nya baril ko’.”

De Villa said that he tried to stop Dela Riarte by shouting at him.

“In a split second, instinctively, I got my gun and while shouting ‘tumigil ka, tumigil ka! turning half sideways to my right, I pulled the trigger of my gun to disable John B. Dela Riarte,” De Villa said adding that “the incident happened so fast that I could feel panic rising to my throat when I realized he was bleeding.”

Because of the traffic, he said he could not drive fast enough to the hospital, so he asked Manon-og to put pressure on Dela Riarte’s wounds.

De Villa and Manon-og said Dela Riarte was alive when they arrived at the PNP Hospital but they were informed that John B. Dela Riarte passed away.

But the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), in its letter complaint submitted to the DOJ, said examination showed that multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, abdomen and right thigh caused Dela Riarte’s death.

The NBI findings jibed with the autopsy report of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory.

“The NBI respectfully rested and hereby transmits the entire case folder for proper incorporation to the case earlier filed [by PAO] to aid the resolution and eventual prosecution of the case,” the NBI stated in the letter complaint signed by NBI Director Atty. Dante A. Gierran.

Dela Riarte was arrested by the two HPG members after he figured in a road altercation with another motorist, Eric Fajardo, in Makati City on July 29, 2016.

He was handcuffed and taken to the HPG headquarters in Camp Crame but was shot dead along the way. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA/northboundasia.com