Stories about innocent Filipinos being gunned down during police operations or by shady personalities suspected to be linked to the drug trade have been circulating online. Marlon Imperial Deniña’s story about his recently gunned down cousin has become one of those stories.
In his Facebook post, Deniña talked about how his cousin, Michael Imperial, was gunned down along with three others, in Naga City. But his 44-year-old cousin only came to the Philippines for a vacation from Australia.
He emphasized that his cousin was neither a drug user nor a drug peddler. However, the cops who gunned him down planted a gun in his hand and some drugs in his pocket to make it seem like he was an addict.
As for the cops who shot Michael and his companions? They are still on duty, still working as cops, even after what happened.
He added that it was actually one of Michael’s companions who was the target of the police operation. And he has an important reminder for everyone: “Be careful with the company you keep.”
In a separate post, Deniña said that he searched for a report about his cousin’s death for the people who doubted the legitimacy of his claims on Facebook.
He found an article from Journal Online, but he noted that the report seemed to be based on a police incident report. He questioned just how convenient it was that the firefight between the police and his cousin’s group went on for 15 minutes with no other witnesses. Deniña also scored the news site for simply taking the police report at face value amid the allegations of extrajudicial killings and did not even conduct a background check on the identities of the victims.
Deniña also gave details on the autopsy report of his cousin, who sustained five gunshot wounds, with one bullet hitting his heart. He considered as it as “overkill,” adding that the cops could have shot the suspects in the extremities.
He then urged the PNP-Internal Affairs Section, the Commission on Human Rights, and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the death of his cousin and the three others to see if it was really a shootout, as the cops claimed.
According to a GMA News Online report, the incident that Deniña was referring to happened on September 22 and led to the death of his cousin, 46-year-old Gualberto Manlangit Sr, 48-year-old Celso Rosales, and one unidentified person who went by the alias Esperida.
The cops claimed that they were shot at by the suspects as they approached Manlangit’s house in Sitio Matiway, Barangay San Felipe at around 9:20 pm.
GMA further reported that the police said Manlangit gave himself up in August, but did not stop using illegal drugs. He had a sachet of suspected shabu in his pocket and a caliber .38 revolver near his body. A caliber .45 pistol was found near Imperial’s body, while .38 caliber revolvers were recovered near Esperida and Rosales’ bodies.
Bicol Police Regional Director Chief Superintendent Melvin Buenafe said that they received a tip about the supposed illegal activities in Manlangit’s house. Buenafe insisted that their operation was legitimate.
According to Manlangit’s relatives, they heard around 20 shots during the operation.