MANILA, Philippines – Corporal Herjonner Soller, the cop accused of executing an “extrajudicial killing” in Marikina City, is now the subject of murder, frustrated murder, and planting of evidence complaints after family members of his alleged victim stepped forward to formalize their allegations of police abuse on Monday, December 9.
The family and friends of Kim Lester Ramos trooped to the Marikina City Hall of Justice on Monday morning, wearing the same white shirts and carrying the same tarpaulins that called for justice when Kim was buried in October. Ramos was the 23-year-old construction worker killed by Soller after Ramos allegedly tried to snatch the cop’s gun – a narrative fiercely contested by members of Ramos’ quiet Marikina community.
Ramos’ father, Norman, led the crowd and filed the complaint, backing up his claims with “5 to 7 witnesses” according to their lawyers from the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services or IDEALS.
Lauro Lagarde, Kim Lester Ramos’ childhood friend who was present during the shooting, accused Soller of frustrated murder for shooting Lagarde at the hip in the same encounter. Lagarde then played dead, and when he opened his eyes briefly, he said he saw Soller shoot his friend at the back of the head point-blank.
After the case received extensive media coverage, Soller was relieved from his post in the Marikina City Police office as an intelligence agent and placed in a holding unit, effectively putting him on "floating status."
THIS MORNING: Family and friends of alleged EJK victim in Marikina Kim Lester Ramos gather here at the Marikina City Hall of Justice to back up a complaint against alleged killer cop Corporal Herjonner Soller. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/cRq9pqaHfP — Rambo Talabong (@ramboreports) December 9, 2019
Why this matters: Many families have stepped forward to tell the public that cops in the Philippine National Police (PNP) have killed their relatives and friends in anti-drug operations, but only a few have decided to formalize their accusations into a legal complaint.
With the complaint submitted, Norman Ramos hopes that his son is afforded the same verdict as the case of Kian delos Santos, the 17-year-old Caloocan boy who was killed by cops then painted in police reports as a drug runner.
“Sana manalo kami kasi sinungaling naman ang pulis na yan…Bakit niya binaril ang anak ko sa ulo eh tumatakbo na nga eh (I hope we win in this case. Why did he shoot my son in the head even if he was already running?),” Norman Ramos told reporters in an interview after the filing of the complaint.
Ramos and Lagarde’s lawyers have declined to share the complaints as they wanted to keep their witnesses confidential to keep them safe from harassment.
Kim Lester Ramos is among at least 5,500 killed suspects whom cops have accused of “fighting back” in anti-drug operations. Human rights groups, however, estimate the kill tally to have reached over 30,000, including killings inspired by President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. – Rappler.com