Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, Negros Occidental provincial police director, yesterday maintained that what happened recently in Brgy. Laga-an, Calatrava, that claimed the life of a barangay Lupon Tagapamayapa member, was a legitimate encounter.
Laga-an barangay Lupon member Bolbet Leyte, 42, succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds, and was declared dead on arrival at the Calatrava hospital Friday last week, as an offshoot of an encounter with Special Action Force troopers and Provincial Police mobile force, the police said.
Castil said the police personnel were fired upon first by Leyte, whose gun did not fire.
A .38 caliber revolver with three dud bullets and two live ammunition and a flashlight were recovered at the scene of incident.
If the gun had fired, Castil said, a policeman may have been either injured or killed
He brushed aside allegations that it was an “overkill” and the gun was planted.
Castil also questioned the carrying of firearm by Leyte. How could he shine his flashlight at the police, while at the same time, firing a gun? he asked.
The victim's family sought justice for his death, stressing in a radio interview, that he is not a member of the New People's Army.
The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People's Army issued a statement condemning the incident, calling it another human rights violation perpetrated by the PNP Special Action Force.
Castil said they launched an operation in the area, led by the SAF, in response to reports of sightings of armed NPA rebels engaged in extortion activities there.
The Police Regional Office 6 encouraged complainants to file a formal complaint against the policemen they accused of being responsible for the death of Leyte.
“If, indeed, there were lapses on the part of concerned police personnel, we will not tolerate it,” Supt. Gilbert Gorero, PRO 6 spokesman, said Sunday.* GPB
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