Fireman slain by Makati cops buried – with hope of justice!
|A photo grabbed from GMA 7 report shows the coffin of Infante atop a fire truck guarded by four fire fighters|
The young volunteer fireman slain by Makati City policemen last April 1 was buried Saturday (April 14, 2012) amidst beckoning hope of justice.
The 31-year-old volunteer fireman Ronald R. Infante, a son of a native of Aklan, was shot dead by Makati cops along with a companion last April 1 while they were chasing an LBC delivery van that rammed them down a few minutes before.
Right after the incident, it was reported by television giants, ABS-CBN and GMA 7, that Infante and his companion, Jenny Almanon, were trying to rob the van when the responding Makati cops killed them.
That initial report deeply moved the community of volunteer firemen stationed at Severino Reyes St., Tayabas St. and Batangas St. in Sta. Cruz (standing for the acronym SETBA to stand for the name of their brigade).
The firemen staged an emotional indignation action on April 4. They paraded about 50 fire trucks, 20 private vehicles and 50 motorcycles on Evangelista St., Bangkal, Makati.
In that protest parade, volunteer firemen tied to a tree in front of Police Community Precinct No. 3 a tarpaulin banner calling out “JUSTICE FOR RONALD R. INFANTE.”
They also unloaded tons of water through the water cannons from their trucks in front of the police station where belong the cops who killed Infante.
The supporters of Infante also erected lighted candles on the spot where he and Almanon fell dead.
However, it was reported also that three tire wheels of a police mobile car were deflated by angry protesters and that the water nozzles from their cannons were smashed at the windows of the precinct and about 20 of them tried to collapse the gate of the precinct.
|Wife of Infante cries in this photo taken during the funeral ceremonies|
Superintendent Jaimy Osit Santos, the chief of the Makati PNP, told ALAM (Alab ng Mamamahayag) president Berteni “Toto” Cataluña Causing and ALAM chairman Jerry Sia Yap that he strictly ordered his men at PCP No. 3 to give maximum tolerance and not to shoot unless the precinct is invaded.
The show of overflowing support from the firemen happened because they cannot believe that their young chief would commit robbery.
When nobody was believing Infante did not rob the LBC delivery van, ALAM carried blog stories to present the strong possibility that the policemen who shot him and Almanon did not call out a warning for surrender but that they just fire their guns instantly as they saw Infante and Almanon on sight.
This action of ALAM perhaps started the televisions stations and newspapers to take a look at the possibility of murder.
In fact, GMA 7 carried a title of their story concluding that Infante and Almanon were only mistaken for robbers.
The wife of the volunteer firefighter chief revealed to ALAM president Causing that her husband’s head was blown off at the back and that some bullets hit him in the back of the body.
|Siblings and the wife of Ronald march as they accompany to his final place|
This was disclosed when the ALAM president visited his wake at Funeraria Vasquez on Batangas St., Sta. Cruz, Manila.
The wife said that when she embraced her husband’s bloody body tightly she noticed that there was a big hole at the back of his head and the wounds of the bullets hit the back of his body.
“Wasak talaga ang ulo niya sa likod. Tapos may mga tama pa siya sa likod ng katawan,” she said.
Hope for justice beckoned
The funeral caravan for Infante passed by Lacuna St. in Makati where he and Almanon was shot dead.
The mourning relatives, friends, firemen and about 100 fire trucks were met and escorted by Makati PNP chief Supt. Santos.
The Makati police chief even shook hands with the wife of Infante who was aboard the fire truck that carried his coffin on their march to North Cemeter in Manila.
|Makati police chief, Supt. Jaime Santos, shakes hands with the wife.|
Earlier, ALAM president Causing, a lawyer, went to the wake of the volunteer firefighter to relay to the family the request of the Makati PNP chief.
The request of Supt. Santos was this:
“Sir, pakisabi naman sa asawa at pamilya ni Ronald Infante na kung pwede, sampahan na ng kaso ang aming mga pulis. Gusto kong manaig ang hustisya para sa pamilya at para na rin sa mga walang kasalanan na malinis din ang kanilang pangalan.”
Superintendent Santos gave assurance he will ensure fairness in the investigation and he will not coddle his men despite his belief that his men are innocent and acted only in the performance of duties as policemen responding to a call of duty.
On the eve of Infante’s interment, Supt. Santos bravely visited the wake of the slain fireman and tried his way to comfort the family.
In coming to the wake, the police colonel brought with him only the MAPSA civilian employees to show his sincerity to the family of the victim.
When he learned that the family would bury Infante on Saturday, he assured them of security that nothing would happen to them, that the supporters can light candles right at the spot where Ronald fell dead, that he was happy that the family already filed criminal complaints before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the members of the Makati PNP who shot Infante dead.
Thus, no untoward incident occurred during the funeral caravan.
“We are firemen, we are disciplined”
Romualdo Infante, the father of the slain fireman, passionately spoke during the church mass.
Trying hard to hold off tears, the father told the thousand mourners and volunteer firemen not to let anger reign but to show that they are real firemen and they are disciplined.
|We are firemen, disciplined -- Romualdo Infante|
Ronald was only 31 but he was already serving as the chief of volunteer fire fighters SETBA brigade.
The volunteer firemen draped the coffin of Ronald with a Philippines flag hailing him their hero.
They also gave him what they called “water salute.”
They all gave their final salute to him while their tears fell.
Disgust to the young Binay
The father of the victim expressed to ALAM president Causing that disgust to Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay that the city chief executive fueled the cries for justice instead of understanding their feelings of losing a son.
The father said that the mayor incited anger in their family and in the more than 300 members of volunteer fire brigade called “SETBA FIRE BRIGADE” when the junior Binay announced he was filing charges against the supporters of Ronald who staged an indignation protest on Evangelista St., Bangkal St., Makati last April 4.
“Boboto pa ba kami kay Vice-President Jejomar Binay? Hindi na maulit ang pagsuporta namin sa kanya noong nakaraang eleksyon,” volunteer firefighters passionately said.
The father and the wife of the victim have been disgusted to Mayor Junjun Binay because he did not recognize the clear facts showing that it was purely an exercise of the freedom of expression when the volunteer firefighters of SETBA and other sympathizers, numbering about 500, paraded 50 fire trucks, 20 vehicles, 50 motorcycles, and sprayed water from their water cannons in front of Police Community Precinct No. 3 on Evangelista St., Bangkal, Makati.
The father said that before the death of his son, it is ironical that he was seated at the back of Vice-President Binay when he rode a plane in going home to Kalibo, Aklan to attend the Ati-Atihan last January.
He said the aide of the Vice-President even gave him a calling card and told him to come to the Office of the Vice-President if he would have a problem.
“Kung ito na ang binabanggit ng anak nya na si Junjun, wala na akong ganang pumunta sa office ni Vice-President,” the father said passionately.
Family of firefighters
SETBA stands for Severino Reyes St., Tayabas St. and Batangs St. in Sta. Cruz, where the fire brigade is based.
Ronald’s call sign in their brigade is “Severino Bravo” while his father is “Severino Alpha.” Ronald’s other siblings are also actively involved in volunteer firefighting that all of them have actually held water cannons in fighting fire.
|Each volunteer fireman gives his final salute to the chief.|
All the siblings of Ronald, the males and the females, and their father have been dedicated volunteers against firefighting almost all their lives.
The police chief is the only Makati cops who can be trusted
It was gathered by ALAM president Causing that the family, relatives, supporters and volunteer firefighters do not trust the Makati policemen anymore, except for their chief, Supt. Santos.
The wife of Ronald told ALAM president: “Paano mo kami mapipilit na magtiwala sa kanila, e noong pumunta ako sinabihan ba naman kami ng investigador na, "UBUSIN NYO MUNA LUHA NYO BAGO KAYO MAGSAMPA NG KASO.”
But the wife said she was thankful that Superintendent Santos was there present that the Makati police chief lectured the investigator: “BAKIT MO SILA GINAGANOON? EH KUNG NANGYARI YAN SA IYO O SA AKIN? MASISISI MO BA KUNG MAMIMILIT SILA NA HUMINGI NG AFFIDAVIT NG LBC VAN DRIVER?”
The wife said that only after the intercession of Santos that they were given a copy of the affidavit of the LBC van driver.
No trust in SOCO as well
The wife added that she also had no trust in the SOCO investigators because one of them even told her that they would not win the case against the policemen.
The father of Ronald disclosed that Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has been calling him and urging them to file the case now before the DILG.
The father also disclosed that Robredo did not trust Makati police investigators so that it is the Camp Crame investigators who will be tasked to do the investigation.
However, the family resolved to file the case before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), convinced that it is the only neutral ground.
They said they did not want Robredo to enter into the picture because it might be misinterpreted that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s men would use the incident to politically assault VP Binay.
They were set last night to come to the office of Death Investigation Division (DID) Deputy Chief Danilo Lalusis, who already assured he will give first priority to the Infante family once they see him.
As it has appeared, the only issue to be resolved is whether the Makati cops involved fired their guns on Ronald and Almanon without first demanding for the two to surrender.
It was no longer an issue of whether there was attempted robbery or none.
The cops claimed they shot the two after the van driver sought help claiming he was being held up.
It seemingly showed that there was a premeditation on the part of the policemen to kill anybody seen fitting the van driver’s descriptions of two men riding on a motorcycle.
ALAM president Causing saw possible incompetence on the part of the cops when they immediately gave the face value of the truth to the declarations of the van driver, who claimed he was running away from persons trying to hijack the LBC van he was driving.
So that ALAM president opined that when Infante and his companion appeared in the sight of the cops because Infante and Almanon were chasing the van, the cops fired at them without calling out for surrender.
In an interview by Sandra Aguinaldo of GMA 7, the van driver said that when he saw the motorcycle being driven by Ronald on his side mirror, the van immediately rammed them, causing the motorbike to fall.
After ramming the motorcycle, the van driver said he fled
The father of Ronald claimed that his son got up, pulled up the motorcycle and drove it again to chase the van driver to be called to answer for the damages to them.
However, before they can catch up with the van, Makati policemen shot them on sight.
The van driver claimed that prior to this Infante incident, he was already hijacked long before and this was reported to PCP No. 4, which fact was confirmed by Superintendent Santos.
So that according to the driver, the moment he saw the motorcycle behind his van, he thought it was out to hijack his van.
More of murder
ALAM president Causing stressed that to clear that doubts once and for all and in the interest of truth, the concerned Makati cops should be charged and be scrutinized by the court.
Causing said that the evidence of murder may consist of:
(a) the fact that the policemen did not give a doubt to the van driver’s claim considering that these cops did not even know whether the stories of the van driver were true or not;
(b) the fact that they immediately resolved in their minds to kill anybody who would fit the descriptions given by the van driver; and
(c) the fact that the cops did not first give a warning for the oncoming motorcycle passenger and driver to surrender peacefully.
“Once and for all, truth must be found,” stressed ALAM chairman Yap, who is also the president of National Press Club.
|The cap and the flag atop Infante's coffin|
A .40 Glock pistol was recovered from Infante. A 9-mm gun was recovered from the mechanic.
Firefighters claimed that the said guns were licensed to the two and that there were permits to carry that were issued for them.
ALAM has been fighting for the establishment of PEOPLE’S JUSTICE SYSTEM where the judges are the people themselves through their representatives, not the judges who have been responsible for the severe deterioration of justice in the country, producing brutal warlords and corrupt officials who commit crimes with impunity and without fear of punishment.