Brgy. chief slay probed

- Internal Affairs handling investigation into alleged shootout in drug raid

The Police Regional Office XI said a motu proprio investigation was launched into the circumstances leading to the alleged shootout that killed Barangay Captain Antonio Guatno of Pangyan, Calinan District on Sunday morning.
Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, spokesperson of Police Regional Office (PRO) XI, said the office of the regional police director Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan has not yet issued a statement regarding the incident.
“But with this kind of operation, this will always be the mandate of the Regional Internal Affairs Service to conduct motu proprio investigation,” she said.
Driz also explained that the there’s no order yet on whether the CIDG operatives will be confined to barracks or their firearms will be turned over to their superiors while investigation is ongoing.
“We will leave the investigation with the RIAS as to the validity and execution (of the warrant), whether it was lawful or unlawful,” Driz said. “We will leave that issue to the investigating officers or team.”
In a separate interview, Supt. Edilberto Leonardo, the chief of the CIDG XI, welcomed the investigation by the Internal Affairs. “That’s their mandate, they have to (conduct the investigation),” he said.
Driz also reiterated that the search warrant was valid since it was signed by the judge. The warrant was for violation of RA 10591 and the Omnibus Election Code on gun ban.
Recently, the wife of Guatno denied reports that her husband shot it out with the arresting police officers who served the arrest warrant inside their house in Calinan District on Saturday. She claimed that her husband was killed in cold blood by the raiding team.
The wife also added that there was no shootout as claimed by the police considering that they were already surrounded by fully armed men. Her husband was dragged into the kitchen before five shots rang out.
Links to NPA
Meanwhile, city police director, Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum, said that Guatno was in the list of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency XI with links to the New People’s Army (NPA).
Speaking in Wednesday’s AFP-PNP press conference, Tagum said they just provided support to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group XI, which was leading the operation to serve the warrant of arrest against Guatno.
“Every time there is a national support unit who is conducting operation within our area of responsibility, normally we can give support but we just give area security and coordination with local officials with regards to their requirements,” he added.
Considering the target is a high-value target, Tagum said they readily agreed to provide support.
“Previously, he was listed as under the PDEA high-value target list provided last 2016 but because he surrendered and had undergone drug rehabilitation,” he further said, adding that Guatno was taken off the drugs watchlist.
“Based on the other information that we received, the late Barangay Captain Guatno has also actual links with the New People’s Army considering that he is related to some of the members of the NPA operating in that area,” the city police director said.
But Brig. Gen. Ernesto Torres, the commander of 1003rd Infantry Brigade, said they could not validate the information regarding Guatno’s link to the NPA. “I can say that the entire barangay of which he was the captain is an influenced barangay (by the NPA),” he said.
Torres said he already met Guatno before in some of the community support program projects of the army in the barangay.
According to the PRO XI’s report, a search team led by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Davao City Field Unit, backed by the CIDG-Regional Field Unit XI, the Regional Intelligence Unit and the Regional Mobile Force Battalion, and Calinan Police Precinct, went to Guatno’s house to implement a search warrant.
The barangay official reportedly drew his pistol and pointed it at the raiding team.
Guatno was rushed to Isaac T. Robillo Memorial Hospital for medical attention, but was declared dead on arrival by the attending physician.
The team allegedly recovered a caliber .45 pistol (serial number 361855 with an inserted magazine loaded with three live ammunition) and a caliber 9mm pistol (serial number T0620 with an inserted magazine loaded with 14 live ammunition) from the official’s house.
Guatno, said to be a former army sergeant, was the barangay captain who finished the six-month drug rehabilitation program, Tabangan Atong Reformists Aron Naay Asenso (Tara Na)-CBRAP, last January.