Last Friday, July 29, motorcycle rider John dela Riarte was shot dead by Highway Patrol Group (HPG) personnel who arrested him after a traffic altercation with another motorist. John was handcuffed and was placed in the patrol car that would bring him to the HPG headquarters, but never made it because he was killed along the way after allegedly trying to grab a personnel’s gun.
The victim’s brother, Robert dela Riarte, went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate his brother’s case, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Robert claimed that the HPG refused to investigate his brother’s death and said that someone called Inspector Abasco warned them not to involve the media in the matter so they won’t embarrass themselves.
Robert also said that the HPG accused his brother of being a drug addict “because he had big eyes,” but he said that John naturally had big eyes. He even showed John’s drug test results on his Facebook page, taken in March 2016.
He also wondered how his brother attempted to grab a policeman’s gun when he was already handcuffed, referring to a video sent by a concerned citizen of John’s arrest.
Captioning the said video on his Facebook post, he wrote, “Salamat po sa nagpadala ng video na ito na isang matibay na evidence po ito na pinagsasaktan ang kapatid ko na si John Dela Riarte habang nakaposas ito at may tinig na nagsabi sa bus na “ang daming pera” wala na po yun nung isauli ang bangkay sa amin.”
He even made a call to Duterte for help in committing justice for his brother as he said, “Pangulong Duterte bigyan nyu po kami ng hustisya sa kamay ng mga pumatay na mga pulis kahit naka posas na sya patalikod.”
The video made it to a report on GMA’s “24 Oras” news program, wherein Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta said that incident was overkill.
“Mali dito yung mga pulis. Naka handcuff na, nakatalikod, paano makapang-agaw? Bakit nila pinatay? Bakit pinapatay o pinatay? Kasi sa puso binaril saka dito sa leeg,” Acosta said.
HPG spokesperson Police Supt. Elizabeth Vasquez extended her sympathies to the dela Riartes and assured them there would be no whitewash in HPG’s investigation of their personnel – PO2 Jonjie Manon-og and PO3 Jeremiah De Villa.
Other motorist’s cellphone video surfaced
The motorist, Eric Fajardo, as reported by Inquirer, who was involved in the traffic altercation with John recorded a video footage of the incident.
Here’s the footage uploaded by Super Radyo dzBB:
Among the comments, two stood out, from John’s nephew and girlfriend, defending him and his actuations in the dzBB video.
HPG should investigate, says NBI
According to the Inquirer, Anna Labao, special investigator of the NBI-Death Investigation Division, said that the cops have a lot of explaining to do.
“You can’t just say it was a shootout. You can’t just say someone is a drug user. What’s your proof? They did not even subject him to a drug test or autopsy,” Labao was quoted saying.
She added that the cops’ superiors at HPG should conduct an investigation, saying, “How can you reach that conclusion? In a way, you are biased. You will accept that in toto? There should be an investigation.”
Robert lamented why the incident should cost his brother’s life.
“We can pay for the car damages. Did they really have to kill my brother?” he said.