ONE of the two policemen under investigation for the death in police custody of motorcyclist John dela Riarte yesterday morning committed suicide by jumping from the rooftop of a building inside the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
This was confirmed by Police Sr. Supt. Antonio Gardiola, Director of Highway Patrol Group (HPG).
Gardiola said at around 9:45 a.m. yesterday PO3 Jeremiah de Villa jumped from the rooftop of the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) building inside Camp Crame.
De Villa was rushed to PNP General Hospital for treatment but expired at around 9:45 a.m.
Shortly before his death De Villa, who was under restrictive custody with co-accused PO2 Jonjie Manon-og, was seen walking to the PSPG building where he used to be assigned.
“Nasa restrictive custody natin siya dito sa Camp Crame, ngayong umaga naglakad-lakad siya sa neighboring building ng HPG sa PSPG kasi he was assigned there before,” Gardiola said.
The HPG director said PO3 de Villa might have been depressed due to his involvement in the Dela Riarte case and, according to witnesses, committed suicide.
“It was a suicide from the time he took a walk sa HPG to the other building so let us respect ang kalagayan po muna ngayon. May imbestigasyon po dyan. There is no foul play and as I am saying we have witness na dumaan siya doon sa PSPG building going up,” the HPG director said.
Gardiola explained that although PO3 de Villa was under restrictive custody he could still walk freely inside the Camp.
“Hindi po siya naka-detain, ang ibig pong sabihin ng restrictive custody, alam namin kung nasaan s’ya kasi ang purpose po niyan, kapag pinatawag siya sa investigation ay ready siya. In fact two days ago ay nag-attend na siya ng preliminary investigation sa DoJ (Department of Justice)” he said.
Gardiola said prior to the incident, PO3 de Villa showed signs of depression and appeared to be out of focus.
It was learned that De Villa’s mother had recently died after her son was placed under detention over the Dela Riarte killing.
“Ang na-observed sa kanya is parang blanko ang pag-iisip nya. Malayo parati ang iniisip wala sa sarili tapos yun nga po kasi when that incident happened naapektuhan yung mother nya, namatay din sa stress dahil sa pangyayari po,” he added.
De Villa and Manon-og were tagged in the killing of Dela Riarte last July 29 on EDSA.
The two HPG men arrested Dela Riarte after a road altercation and killed him when he allegedly tried to wrest the gun of one of the police officers.