PNP to probe death of suspect in elderly couple’s slay

PNP to probe death of suspect in elderly couple’s slay

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it will probe the killing of the suspect in the murder of an octogenarian couple in Quezon City, after he was shot dead for allegedly grabbing the firearm of a police officer on Wednesday night.

Based on the report from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), the suspect identified as Carl Joseph Bañanola, 37, was in a police patrol car and was set to be brought to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit after he was presented for inquest for two counts of robbery with homicide and frustrated murder.

Bañanola supposedly requested his escorts that his handcuff from behind be loosened as he was in pain.

Staff Sgt. Alex Icban loosened the cuffs, but the suspect allegedly went for Icban’s firearm, starting a scuffle inside the moving police car.

Upon seeing the incident, Lt. Col. Rossel Cejas, who was seated beside the driver, drew his service firearm and shot the suspect to disable him.

They immediately rushed Bañanola to East Avenue Hospital for medical treatment but he was pronounced dead on arrival around 6:52 p.m.

PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac said that any police intervention is always done with the presumption of regularity following standard police operating procedures, in this case, on custody of suspects and on self-defense.

He said part of the procedures is for those cops on duty to undergo investigation and give an account of the incident and to submit their firearms for ballistics examination.

“We assure the public that as a professional organization, the PNP always accords suspects under custody with proper protection and utmost respect for human rights,” Banac said when sought for a comment.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, said he already ordered an investigation on the incident and a review of the police protocol.

“We will review the protocol regarding this so we can avoid this kind of incidents. Definitely, there will be a probe of the cops involved in the incident. We will determine whether there was an irregularity,” Eleazar told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview.

Eleazar also stressed that illegal drugs affect a person’s mood, thinking, and behavior.

“Based on President Duterte, taking illegal drugs results in a chain of problems, for which he has been chastised from all fronts, in and out of the country. Drug addiction, no doubt, has severely affected society, cutting across all socio-economic echelons and demographics. No one can deny that drug addiction is a societal menace, resulting in countless crimes, financial problems, and broken relationships, both with families and friends,” Eleazar explained.

Eleazar said that Bañanola was arrested in a pursuit operation in Caloocan City around 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Eleazar, together with QCPD director Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel, presented the suspect in a press conference on Wednesday where he admitted to killing Nicolas Austria, 86, a retired engineer and his wife Leonora, a retired government employee, as he was under the influence of illegal drugs.

The two were found dead while their helper Editha Fernandez, 63, was found lying inside the dirty kitchen with a head fracture and bruises on her body in their house at TS Cruz Subdivision, Barangay San Agustin, Novaliches, Quezon City on Sunday.

The incident was reported by the couple’s daughter, Maria Liza Austria, 56, when she visited her parents’ home.

Austria suspected that there was something unusual when no one responded despite her repeated knocking on the gate. It was then that she sought help from Barangay officials and discovered the fatal incident.

Authorities established the identity of the suspect after interviewing the housemaid who until now is still confined at the Capitol Medical Center.

A witness, who was a former co-worker of the suspect, confirmed that the blooded red shirt and short pants recovered at the crime scene were the same clothing worn by the suspect several times before the incident happened.

Recovered from the suspect’s possession was PHP16,100 believed to be part of the PHP38,000 that was missing from the victim’s house when the incident happened.  Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA –