2 more robbery suspects gunned down by police


By ARIS R. ILAGAN

Police operatives yesterday gunned down two more suspected members of the Waray-Waray bank robbery gang during follow-up operations in Caloocan City in the wake of the bloody firefight between their alleged cohorts and lawmen in Parañaque City last Friday.

In his report to Director General Jesus Verzosa, chief of the Philippine National Police, Director Leopoldo Bataoil of the National Capital Region Police Office said elements of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group shot it out with gang members along Kalye Libis in Caloocan City around 3 a.m.

Chief Supt. Raul Castañeda, CIDG director, said the killing of the two suspected Waray-Waray members was a follow-up to the bloody gunbattle in Paranaque City that resulted in the killing of 12 other suspects.

The slain suspects in Caloocan remained unidentified as of press time.

Castaneda said the two were part of a five-man gang who were allegedly planning to rob a rice warehouse in Antipolo City which was supposed to take place around 8 p.m. last Sunday. Police did not say why the robbers did not push through with their plans.

Instead, the suspects reportedly proceeded to Kalye Libis in Caloocan City where they were spotted by police agents.

On board a blue Honda Accord, Castaneda said the suspects apparently noticed that they were being tailed by a team from the National Capital Region Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit led by Senior Supt. Isagani Nerez which prompted them to fire shots at the lawmen.

Two of the suspects were killed in the first volley of gunfire while the three others managed to escape by jumping into a deep ravine, police said.

Recovered from the scene were an M-16 baby Armalite, a caliber .45 pistol, several spent shells and the Honda Accord which was believed to have been stolen by the suspects.

Nerez expressed belief that the Waray-Waray group and the Ozamis City gang resorted to swapping of members in conducting robbery operations during the Christmas season.

Child rights group cries for justice in death of De Vera girl

By ELLALYN B. DE VERA

Child rights advocates yesterday called for justice for the seven-year-old girl who was slain in a shootout between police operatives and robbery suspects in Parañaque City last Friday night.

The Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns and its member-organizations led by the Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) expressed outrage over the killing of Lea Alyanna De Vera and her father Alfredo who were caught in the crossfire between the police and alleged robbers in Sucat, Parañaque City.

Sixteen persons, including a police officer and five civilians, were killed during the incident.

The CRC called for an immediate and impartial investigation to give justice to the innocents killed.

CRC executive director Ma. Esmeralda Macaspac, whose group provides psycho-social help for child victims of human rights violations and their families, said truth is very important for the surviving relatives to cope with the violent death of their loved ones.

“Knowing the truth means one step closer to gaining justice and gaining justice a big leap to healing,” Macaspac said.

Human Rights chairperson Leila De Lima last Saturday ordered the immediate investigation of the killings to check on possible human rights violations during the police operations.

“We extend our condolences with Alyanna’s mother and join her in her call for justice for the death of her loved ones,” Salinlahi spokesperson Alphonse Rivera said.

He said the news is particularly distressing especially since the human rights community will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights tomorrow, December 10.

“It is indeed alarming to note that our children are not safe from human rights violations. Whether they are in the countryside or in the cities, state forces should always keep in mind the respect for human life, especially children,” Rivera pointed out.

The children’s rights and welfare group expressed confidence that the government will look closely into the incident and not allow it to end up like other cases of children whose rights have been violated.

Likewise, Rivera said the state forces should be held accountable over their actions.

“In many instances, such cases end up with an excuse that it is either a legitimate operation or that the victim is unfortunately part of collateral damage,” Rivera stressed.

“This has always been the military’s excuse even prior to proper investigations which later prove that they should be made accountable. Maybe the PNP will be human enough to admit and accept accountability should investigations show that they are culpable,” he added.

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