SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union– Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula, Ilocos Police Regional Office director, ordered an investigation why the CCTV video footage which recorded the killing of La Union ex-Congressman Eufranio “Franny” Eriguel last May 12, was leaked and uploaded on Facebook.
“When it (the FB upload) was reported to me, I immediately called the attention of the Provincial Director Sr. Supt. Ricardo Layug, Jr., who then convened that night the members of the Special Investigation Task Group. We will file a case, if proven that one, two or three persons had caused the leakage of a very important evidence that the SITG was keeping,” Sapitula said.
The footage showed Eriguel speaking before an audience in the village of Capas, Agoo town in a “miting de avance” during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections campaign when two masked assassins approached and gunned him down almost at close range with high-powered automatic rifles, as the rest of the crowd scampered for safety.
Investigators kept it as evidence and was never allowed to be shown even to media practitioners until it was uploaded to Facebook and shared by hundreds of netizens to the surprise and horror of many local residents abhorring violence.
Second District Representative Sandra Eriguel, Franny’s widow, expressed dismay and lamented over the leaking of the said footage in her privilege speech in the House of Representatives last week.
According to the solon, the CCTV footage was taken through mobile phone and that it was under the custody of the police’ SITG-Eriguel II and that it was only shown during the case conference.
Meanwhile, in response to the privilege speech of the woman solon last May 28 blaming the PRO1 leadership as responsible in the recall of the police personnel detailed as their protective security, Sapitula said in a press statement that the police here never recalled security escort of the late solon due to the fact that they never detailed police personnel as his protective security, because he was not entitled as he was not an incumbent public official.
Second, he said, the former lawmaker was identified as narco-politician by President Duterte.
Sapitula added that they never received a written request for protective security and only recalled the police escorts of Congresswoman Eriguel and Mayor Stefanie Ann Eriguel.
“These police personnel were detailed for them as a matter of courtesy and not a policy. Furthermore, the policy is that the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) of the PNP who is the one in- charge of providing security protection for the VIPs and qualified personalities,” he said.
“We honestly say, that as much as our office desired to prevent the recall of the police personnel, we are duty-bound to do so in compliance with the PNP National Headquarters’ directive,” he said.
Sapitula stressed that as Regional Director of the Region 1 police, we are also mandated to implement any legal orders to that effect, where the security may be recalled or terminated anytime or even before the expiration of the detail when the demands of the PNP so requires which holds true during the election period.
He added, “During our series of conferences with the COMELEC and AFP in Region 1, we discovered that we lack about a thousand personnel to man the voting places and the detail of these security police personnel to election duties is one of the noblest tasks, which is to secure the rights of the people to suffrage.
It was learned that with respect to the allegation that Police Chief Inspector Alfredo D. Padilla Jr., the then Agoo Chief of Police who failed to dispatch security detail at the said “miting de avance” is now one of the matters being investigated by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) “Eriguel.”
“This is not the time of finger-pointing, for this will not help in the speedy resolution of the case,” Sapitula said.”It is the desire of this leadership to resolve this case as early as possible to give justice to the victims.” William Jun Garcia/Northbound Philippines News