May 23, 2024

The Department of Justice said it will direct a prosecution panel to look into murder and perjury cases filed against the Cordillera police arising from a checkpoint shooting in Abra nearly two months ago that resulted in one death.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento made the announcement as agencies seek to resolve the complaint filed before the National Bureau of Investigation by Pilar Vice Mayor Jaja Josefina Disono and relatives of her slain supporter, Sandee Boy Bermudo.  

“The respondents will be given the opportunity to respond to the charges once they have been furnished with copies of the complaint. Thereafter, the case will be resolved considering the submissions of the parties,” Malcontento said in a statement.

The NBI filed criminal complaints before the DOJ against several persons involved in a shooting on March 29 around 10:30 a.m. at a Philippine National Police-Commission on Elections checkpoint along Berona Street in Pilar where Bermudo was killed.

PNP operatives initially claimed there was a car chase and a gun battle ensued between the passengers of the van accompanying the vice mayor’s convoy and policemen.

An NBI investigation sought by Pilar Mayor Mark Ronald Somera, Disono, and the sister of the deceased showed there was no visible checkpoint along the area at the time of the shooting, based on camera footage.

Police Regional Office-Cordillera Director, Brig. Gen Ronald Lee; Abra Provincial Police Acting Director, Col. Maly Castillo Cula; and Acting Pilar Municipal Police Station Chief, Capt. Ronald Eslabra were among those charged by the NBI. – PNA