Issue of January 10, 2021
     
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Sloppy police work

The death of a flight attendant on New Year’s Day found in an empty bathtub of a hotel room where she and some friends celebrated is tragic (may her soul rest in peace), but the greater tragedy is the manner the police was handling the investigation.

Comes first the police director of Makati City where the incident occurred. Without any iota of forensic evidence, Col. Harold Depositar said on national television that a “provisional” charge of rape with homicide was filed against 11 persons who were with the victim at the time of her death.

His basis: “The victim had lacerations and sperm in her genitalia.” There were also bruises, contusions, and scratches on her arms and legs. The death may have initially been found to be natural – from ruptured aortic aneurysm – but there were apparently factors that contributed to it: very strenuous activity and probably a high level of alcohol toxicity.

Depositar said, “For sure, there was force inflicted on her body because we found contusions in her leg and knees, and there was an abrasion in her thigh. Semen was found in multiple places in the hotel rooms.”

One of the suspects, Gregorio Angelo Rafael de Guzman, who admitted he is gay, said he never had intercourse with a woman, and that majority, if not all, of the men in the room are gay. Depositar, to the consternation of the LGBT community, made an insensitive remark: “Lalaki pa rin sila. Men have instinct and this comes naturally when they are under the influence of intoxicating alcohol and in the presence of drugs.”

Why he said those statements before the klieg lights is a wonder for all of us looking from the outside. If they were waiting for the forensic evidence, what was his basis in saying so? Was he even present in the autopsy or did he have forensic training? Pogi points o idol niya his predecessors who are hungry for media attention?

The job of the police is to collect facts and not form an opinion and here was the leader of the investigators talking his mouth off as if they were conclusions of fact and law.

The greater tragedy is his boss, Philippine National Police Chief Debold Sinas,who took his words hook, line, and sinker and even declared the “rape-slay” case solved.

What about filing the case before the prosecutor’s office and thereafter the courts and getting a conviction? Is it not the essence of justice? According to the PNP manual on heinous and sensational crimes, a case can only be considered solved if the offender has been identified, there is sufficient evidence to charge him, if the offender has been taken into custody, and the offender has been charged.

Good thing the saving grace is National Capital Region Police Office Chief Vicente Danao Jr., who said,“nyet,” the case is not closed, openly contravening the chief PNP whose seat he will take over in May, hopefully bringing back the organization to its senses.

Then Sinas says if the remaining eight suspects do not comply with his order to surrender in 72 hours, he would cite them for contempt of court. Ha? Which court, Victoria? How can one be cited in contempt when there is no court case filed or pending? Ser, ask your legal team what direct or indirect contempt is and when and where it should be filed. Must be sleeping on the job or force of mañanita habit?

So, the consequence of the sloppiness? The “provisional” case was dismissed. The Department of Justice prosecutors said the evidence is also insufficient to prove how the victim died.

“No evidence medically or scientifically was presented to prove that the cause of death or the rupture of the aortic aneurysm was by reason of the alleged rape. Likewise, if the homicide was committed, the person/s responsible is/are yet to be ascertained through further evidence.”

There is also no evidence submitted to show the suspects have conspired to kill the victim. The police had not submitted the DNA analysis results, toxicology/chemical analysis, and histopathology examination.

For a case that the PNP said is already closed, the prosecutor’s resolution would be a clear slap on the face and in Japan, honorable men would have committed hara-kiri.

Postmortem, the autopsy and initial medico-legal report stated there were “multiple contusions and abrasions.” It cited the cause of death as “ruptured aortic aneurysm.” The report did not note any trace of semen found on the body. There was an abrasion and lacerations in the victim’s private parts, but they were already “deeply healed,” thus implying no sexual activity before death. Expectedly, Sinas wants a second autopsy to cover the clumsy handling of the case. Ay apo. Sigh!

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