Mandaluyong police chief, 10 cops relieved over 'mistaken identity' shooting

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The police chief of Mandaluyong City and 10 other policemen were temporarily relieved of their posts on Friday, December 29, after a shooting incident that left two people dead.

National Capital Regional Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde announced in a news briefing that he has ordered the temporary relief of Mandaluyong City police chief Senior Superintendent Moises Villaceran Jr and 10 other Mandaluyong policemen a day after the latter shot at a car they thought carried suspects in another shooting incident in the city.

They were "administratively relieved for the meantime ending the investigation" of the incident, Albayalde said.

"We're not hiding anything here. We're not discounting the possibility...that there may be overkill," he said.

“We express our sincerest condolences to the bereaved family. I assure everyone of a transparent investigation and that justice will be served in the soonest possible time,” said Albayalde in a statement to media.

Villaceran said Thursday night that the incident appeared to be a case of mistaken identity. The shooting incident left two people dead, and two others in critical condition.

Malacañang vowed an investigation of the incident.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has been tasked to investigate the matter. The IAS is headed by lawyer Alfegar Triambulo, who is not a member of the police force.

A paraffin test has been ordered on the following police personnel involved in the incident:

Senior Inspector Maria Cristina Vasquez

Police Office 1 Alfred Uribe

Police Office 2 Nel Lemuel Songalia

PO1 Jave Arellano

PO1 Tito Danao

PO1 Mark Castillo

PO1 Julius Libuen

PO1 Bryan Nicolas

PO1 Albert Buwag

PO1 Kim Rufford Tibunsay

Ballistic examinations have also been ordered on the service firearms of these police personnel.

Triambulo, in a chance interview on Friday, said the IAS will determine “individual liability” then check if the cops followed the right protocol in the operation. The team involved have also been summoned by the IAS for interviews. 

Albayalde said the shootout that led to the injury of the first victim, Jonalyn Amboan, will be investigated by the Mandaluyong city investigation branch alongside the Eastern Police District Investigation and Detection Management division. Four suspects have been apprehended as part of the investigation.

Amboan is one of the two who died as a result of the shootout. The car that the Mandaluyong police mistakenly shot was trying to bring Amboan to the hospital for her injuries.

According to survivors of the incident, barangay tanod (village officials) Ernesto Fajardo and Gilberto Dulpo were the mobile patrol at Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City.

According to an Interaksyon report, one of them was seen firing at the vehicle with Amboan on-board.

One of the survivors, construction worker Mhury Jamon, who was on-board the vehicle told media they were told by the barangay tanod to stop and alight the vehicle. When they did, the two shot at them.

Another construction worker who was on-board the vehicle, Jomar Jayaon, died as a result of the shooting. 

The team of police were alerted by the tanod pursuing the vehicle. They also chased it, and fired repeatedly at the vehicle. Police have yet to determine why the barangay tanod were armed with guns. – Rappler.com