“I WANT him alive.”
This was the remark of Chief Public Attorney Dr. Persida V. Rueda Acosta yesterday in the wake of the sudden death of a policeman of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) who was under investigation and faced summary dismissal for the killing of a handcuffed motorist on July 29.
Reports said that PO3 Jeremiah De Villa on Saturday jumped to his death from the rooftop of a building inside Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“I want De villa alive to give him due process sana,” Acosta said, pointing out that video reveals that the dead lawman and his partner handcuffed and mauled John de la Riarte after they arrested him on EDSA in Makati over a traffic altercation.
“We feel very sorry for him, we want the respondents be given due process alive in our judicial process,” the PAO chief said.
The National Police Commission on Friday issued formal charges against De Villa and his co-accused and recommended summary dismissal proceedings against them.
“Walang kalaban-laban si Riarte ng binubugbog nila,”Acosta noted.
Riarte’s brother Robert on the other hand is hopeful that the truth will come out from De Villa’s death.
He added that while he believed the police officers should be punished, Robert said that he would not have wanted them to die.
He said De Villa should have been guarded closely.
"Una, di ako pabor sa death penalty…pare-parehas lang tayong tao. Sana malaman ang totoo," he said
De Villa’s body was found on the ground outside the building housing the Police Security and Protection Group at around 9 a.m. Saturday. At the time of his death he was under restrictive custody.
He had shown signs of depression after the recent death of his mother.
Officer De Villa and PO2 Jonjie Manon-og were implicated in the shooting death of motorcycle rider De la Riarte in late July after De la Riarte allegedly engaged the arresting officers, along with traffic management constables of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), in a scuffle after a vehicular incident on EDSA in Makati City.
De la Riarte allegedly tried to pry off the service firearm of one of the law enforcers while inside a patrol car. An autopsy report indicated that De la Riarte died of gunshot wounds in the chest, thigh and chest.