Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Police General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, has ordered an investigation on the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man who was mistaken as a fleeing drug suspect during a buy-bust operation in Barangay North Baluarte in Iloilo City’s Molo district last June 29.
Eleazar said that while it has been a protocol that the Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) would come in on operations that would result in injuries and deaths particularly of the subject of the operations, the allegation that there was a case of a mistaken identity will be included in the investigation.
“I understand that there is already a motu-proprio investigation on this but with this allegation, I have already tasked the RIAS to look into this new information para malinawan tayo,” said Eleazar.
The buy-bust operation was conducted by the Police Station 1 and the City Drug Enforcement Unit.
One report alleged that police operatives mistakenly killed 29-year-old Karl Daniel Bolante during the buy-bust operation after the real target, John Dave Mendoza, escaped.
Another report claimed that the police had conducted the buy-bust operation against both Bolante and Mendoza. Bolante was shot and killed after he allegedly acted to hurl a grenade at the policemen pursuing his cohort. Mendoza, it was claimed, was arrested.
Cops claimed Bolante obstructed their operation and that the latter had a grenade and a .38 revolver. Bolante’s family, however, denied this.
A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed Bolante shirtless, only wearing a pair boxer shorts and holding a mobile phone, so how could he be concealing a gun and a grenade, the family pointed out.
Mendoza, identified as street level individual, was eventually captured and is now detained at the Police Station 1, facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
He was previously arrested in a buy-bust operation in 2017. He availed the plea bargaining agreement from court and was released on November 25, 2020.
“Dahil po sa may alegasyon na namang ganito, tayo at nakikiusap muli sa mga nakakita at kamag-anak ng nasawi na tulungan tayo na mahanap ang katotohanan dito,” said Eleazar.
The PNP chief added, “Kung kayo ay may alam sa nangyaring ito, nararapat lang na panindigan ang katotohanan sa ngalan ng hustisya. At ako naman ay personal na nangangako ng inyong proteksyon kung meron ngang kamalian na nangyari dito.”/WDJ