• Unsettling video showed motorcyclist being manhandled by HPG and MMDA men
  • PAO chief said motorcyclist’s death at the hands of HPG men overkill
  • Police vowed no whitewash in the probe

MANILA, Philippines – Murder charges are being readied against two members of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) who arrested and killed motorcyclist John Dela Riarte even as an unsettling video of his apprehension has emerged.

P02 Jonjie Manon-og and P03 Jeremiah De Villa have been put under restrictive custody pending an investigation which could see them liable for murder and robbery as well as administrative charges.

The video, taken by a concerned citizen, shows Dela Riarte being restrained and punched a few times by the HPG men and some Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) constables in the middle of the road.

Dela Riarte, who was carried away in an HPG mobile, was later shot dead inside the vehicle after the policemen claimed he tried to grab their gun.

However, Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta said the video clearly showed Dela Riarte being handcuffed at the back.

“Mali dito iyong mga pulis. Naka handcuff na, nakatalikod, paano makapang-agaw? Bakit nila pinatay? Bakit pinapatay o pinatay? Kasi sa puso binaril saka dito sa leeg,” she told GMA News.

[The police are wrong here. His hands were already handcuffed behind him, how could he grab their gun? Why did they kill him? Why was he killed? Because he was shot in the heart and in the neck.

An autopsy report also revealed that Dela Riarte was shot four times — three of them fatal — contrary to the HPG men’s claim they only shot him twice.

The slain motorcyclist’s family also accused the cops of looting Dela Riarte’s P33,000 which he had with him that day.

For their part, HPG spokesperson Police Supt. Elizabeth Vasquez extended her condolences to the family even as they vowed no whitewash in the probe.

“Kung ano man po ang tunay na nangyari kung may pananagutan ang HPG, ang mga tao namin, tatanggapin namin ‘yun. Wala namang mangyayari ditong takipan,” she said.

[If the real events show that the HPG and its men have to answer for what happened, then we will accept it. There will be no whitewash here.]