By: Joey A. Gabieta
PALO, Leyte- As separate investigations on the misencounter involving policemen and soldiers are now underway, the families of the slain policemen are calling that these probes would not be whitewashed and swift justice be given to them.
The families maintained that what happened in sitio Lunoy, Barangay San Roque, Sta. Rita in Samar, was an ambushed and not just a mere ‘chance encounter’ as what the military and the police officials described the incident.
Both the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are conducting their own separate investigations on the incident.
Earlier, both Police Director General Oscar Albayalde and AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez, Jr. vowed of a transparent investigations.
PO3 Jessie Escalo, whose younger brother PO1 Julie Escalo was among the six policemen killed in the incident, said that while they welcome the probes being conducted, they hope ‘truth will come out.’
“We just hope that no whitewash will happen in any of these investigations. We want justice for us and for my brother,” Escalo said.
Teresita Suarez, 69, and mother to PO1 Julius Suarez, said that only a real and impartial result of these investigations would somehow give her peace of mind.
“They should give us justice and punish those responsible for the death of my son. I cannot allow that the death of son will just remain as an ordinary crime. He was killed,” the sobbing mother said.
Rachel Reyes,23, wife of PO1 Rowell Reyes, said that its hard for her to accept his death at the hands of soldiers.
“It was ambush and not just a mere misencounter,” she said.
The death of her husband left her widow with two young daughters, aged 2 and five months old. They are from Victoria, Northern Samar.
The slain cop’s mother, Virginia, also asked for justice.
“That’s all we want, justice for my son. Whatever assistance that they are giving to us is nothing. Its justice,” she said.
The families of the slain cops said that while they are waiting for the results of the investigations, they are putting the blame to the military, all members of the 87th Infantry Battalion.
On Wednesday night, the families rejected the wreaths offered by the military.
“It hurt us. It just like an insult,” Rachel Reyes said.
The soldiers in charged were said to put back the wreaths at their military truck.
The remains of the six policemen, PO1 Wyndell Noromor, PO1 Edwin Ebrado, PO1 Phil Rey Mendigo, PO1 Julius Suarez, PO1 Rowell Reyes, and PO1 Julie Escalo, lie in state at the gymnasium of the regional headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Camp Ruperto Kangleon, Palo town.
Wreaths from the PNP, Department of Interior and Local Government and from other donors were placed each of the six white caskets.
The incident also wounded nine others, PO1 Elmer Pan, PO1 Cris Angelo Pialago, PO1 Romulo Cordero, PO1 Joenel Gonzaga, PO1 Rey Barbosa, PO1 Roden Goden, PO1 Jaime Galoy, PO1 Rommel Bagunas and PO1 Jomark Adones.