by Harley F. Palangchao
Residents led by students held an indignation rally in Bontoc, Mountain Province to call for justice over the death of a college student several hours after he was arrestezd by a group of policemen on Nov. 4.
Kin of victim Stefene Galidan also vowed to seek all possible avenues, including sending a letter to the Philippine National Police headquarters, if only to seek justice.
On Wednesday, over a thousand residents led by students of Mountain Province Polytechnic State College (MPSPC) held a protest rally and converged near the frontage of the Capitol as they condemned Galidan’s death.
Galidan, a second year student of MPSPC, died at the Bontoc General Hospital several hours after he reportedly jumped from a police car at the capital town.
In Camp Dangwa, C/Supt. Isagani Nerez, the regional police director, ordered the relief of five policemen linked to the case.
Those who were relieved and are currently under investigation are SPO4 Rolando Bagangan, SPO4 Michael Napaeg, SPO3 Lester Faba-an, SPO2 Gaspar M. Suagen, and PO3 Raul Fagsao.
“If found guilty, sanctions will be imposed against them,” a press statement from Camp Dangwa stated.
They were relieved from Bontoc Municipal Police Station and reassigned to PHAO-MPPPO pending investigation.
In a spot report furnished to journalists, Galidan and companions Roldan Banwa and Carmelo Battateng, were met by patrolling policemen night of Nov. 4.
The report stated Galidan and his companions were allegedly under the influence of liquor and were arrested for loitering and being disruptive.
Banwa and Battateng fled while Galidan submitted himself to file a complaint against the policemen who tried to accost him and his companions.
The report stated before reaching the police station, Galidan accidentally fell and went unconscious.
He was brought to the Bontoc General Hospital but he died at 9:45 a.m. of Nov. 5.
Most roads, particularly at Bontoc Ili, are densely populated and vehicles could not reach a speed above 40 kilometers per hour even during nighttime.
Galidan was allegedly manhandled during the course of his arrest reason that he wanted the incident to be reported in the police blotter.
One witness, believed to be a relative of the victim, claimed elements of Bontoc police mauled Galidan causing his death.
Based on the review of the CCTV footage, Galidan was accompanied by two policemen towards the police car before proceeding to the police station. This was copied and preserved as electronic evidence.
The regional police command, meanwhile, called for sobriety and appealed to the public not to lose their trust in the PNP, saying the police is doing efforts to keep the community secure and safe despite the challenges it faces.