‘Fireman’s head blown off at the back; bullets hit the body’s back’

Family accedes to Makati PNP chief’s appeal; files murder today before NBI:
 ‘Fireman’s head blown off at the
back; bullets hit the body’s back’
Firefighter's helmet and a Philippine flag on top of Ronald's coffin.

The wife of the volunteer firefighter chief who was killed along with aide Jenny Almanon (not Jimmy Almanon as earlier reported) by Makati policemen allegedly for trying to rob a courier company van last April Fool’s Day revealed last night (April 11, 2012) that her husband’s head was blown off at the back and that some bullets hit him in the back of the body.

This was disclosed by the wife of volunteer firefighter Infante when Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) president Berteni “Toto” Cataluña Causing visited his wake at Funeraria Vasquez on Batangas St., Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Ronald, 31, inside the coffin

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.

Relaying the chief’s request

ALAM president Causing, a lawyer, went to the wake of the volunteer firefighter to relay to the family the request of Makati PNP chief Supt. Jaime Osit Santos, the chief of the policemen who shot Infante dead.

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.

Freedom of expression vs Sedition

ALAM president also talked with the father of Infante and he expressed his 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 who was still young at 31.

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.

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.

The spot report of PCP No. 3 chief said that these supporters placed a banner shouting “JUSTICE FOR RONALD R. INFANTE” on the tree in front of the police sub-station, deflated three tires of the police mobile car, and tried to break open the steel gate of the police office.

Superintendent Santos told ALAM president Causing and ALAM chairman Jerry Sia Yap that he ordered his men inside PCP No. 3 during the indignation protest of Ronald’s supporters not to shoot anybody in the group of rallyists and observe maximum tolerance unless their gate was breached and their sub-station was overrun.

It was suggested that the acts done by the protesters were seditious.

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.
Ronald's firefighting gears beside his coffin

All the siblings of Ronald, the males and the females, and their father have been dedicated volunteers against firefighting almost all their lives.

No trust in Makati investigators

Meanwhile, the family heeded the request of Supt. Santos. 

Although they had no plan yet to file charges because they were busy attending to the funeral and other personal matters, they decided to file the charges of double murder against the cops involved.

However, the family did not have trust in the Makati investigators for they will side with their colleagues involved in the shooting incident.

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.

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.
A photo of Ronald stands at the foot of the coffin

           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.

Lone issue

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.
The coffin of Ronald with the firefighting gears on

         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.
Fellow fire volunteers gather in front of the coffin

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.

Looks like 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.
Atty. Berteni "Toto" C. Causing listens as the wife speaks

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.

            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.

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