Police charge four suspects in Mandaluyong incident that triggered 'mistaken identity' shooting

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Investigators check the aftermath of a Dec. 28 shooting on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City that left one dead.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 30) — Police have filed charges against four people involved in the initial incident that triggered the fatal “mistaken identity” shooting in Mandaluyong city.

The Mandaluyong city police arrested and filed cases of Alarm and Scandal and Physical Injuries against Jemar Alpin, Abdurahman Alpin, Romeo Resureccion and Wahab Alpin.

The suspects are four of six gas delivery boys who supposedly had an altercation with construction workers in Barangay Addition Hills late Thursday. The incident led to the shooting of the girlfriend of one of the construction workers, Jonalyn Ambaon.

It also triggered the death of two people including Jonalyn, after police and barangay officials were misled into thinking the car carrying Ambaon to the hospital was carrying armed suspects.

Two more suspects in the shooting of Ambaon remain at large. These are Salam Abdulmagid, the supposed gunman in the initial incident, and an unidentified man.

Police have arrested two of the three barangay tanods who chased and allegedly fired at the Mitsubishi Adventure bringing Ambaon to the hospital.

Based on a survivor’s account, police and barangay officials from Addition Hills had fired at the car despite pleas they were bringing a shooting victim to a hospital.

READ: Mandaluyong shooting survivor: Police did not listen to our plea we were innocent

The incident has received widespread criticism on social media as netizens hit the supposed “trigger-happy” policemen.

In an interview on CNN Philippines’ News Night Friday, Metro Manila Police Chief Oscar Albayalde, however, claimed Abdurahman Alpin, a member of the group, had misled barangay officials into believing the men taking Ambaon to the hospital were armed.

"Habang paalis sila, Alpin went to the barangay hall at siya ang nagsumbong. He deceived the barangay tanods there na yung nakasakay sa Adventure ay armed,” he said.

[Translation: While they were leaving, Alpin went to the barangay hall. He deceived the barangay tanods into thinking those riding the Adventure were armed.]

The National Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation on the incident. Mandaluyong City police chief Senior Supt. Moises Villaceran and 10 other officers have also been administratively relieved.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar has ensured there will be no cover-up in the investigation of the deadly shooting.

"Makakasiguro po ang sambayanan na wala hong whitewash na mangyayari," Andanar said in a Saturday interview on the state-run "Radyo Pilipinas."

[Translation: The nation can be assured that there will be no whitewash in this incident.]

He added, the tanods involved should also be investigated.

"'Ang imbestigasyon diyan ng Philippine National Police at ng DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) should be up to the barangay level para malaman talaga 'yung problema."

[Translation: Their most basic asset are those on the ground, the barangay tanods. Therefore, the investigation of the Philippine National Poilce and the DILG should be up to the barangay level so that they really find out the problem.]

Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos said on Friday that she has ordered the suspension and investigation of Barangay Addition Hill tanods

Barangay Captain says he never issued guns

Meanwhile, Addition Hills Barangay Captain Kent Faminial said he has never issued guns for his men.

This despite claims two of the tanods had fired at the vehicle.

Wala po talaga kaming iniissue na baril sa mga bantaybayan namin. Ang iniissue lang namin yung posas saka pro baton. Wala kaming kakayanan na magbigay ng baril,” he said.

[Translation: We didn't issue any guns for them. What we issued were a baton and handcuffs. We don't have the resources to issue guns.]

Ernest Fajardo, one of the barangay tanods who had previously admitted his colleagues were armed, now denies he saw them carrying guns.

A 2008 memorandum circular by the National Police Commission, the agency that handles the PNP, allows barangay tanods to be deputized as members of the Police Auxiliary Unit (PAU).

PAU members are allowed to carry firearms, provided that they wear proper uniform, finish the required training and that the guns are registered to the barangay.

Albayalde told CNN Philippines Friday barangay tanods are not allowed to carry guns on duty.

"If you have a permit to carry firearms, yes you're allowed to bear firearms but you cannot use it for your duty as barangay tanod," Albayalde said. "Hindi mo puwedeng ilabas yan at ibrandish sa labas yung baril mo [You can't brandish that gun outside.]."

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Ambaon’s partner Eliseo Alaud, who was critically injured in the shooting, lamented the incident. He said had authorities not made the mistake of pinning them down, Ambaon could have made it.

"Mahaba pa... Matagal na oras pa yung nangyari. Kung nakaderetso lang kami rito at hindi kami inabala ng mga hayop na pulis... Umabot sana siya," he said.

[Translation: It was long… The incident took so long. If only we were able to arrive at the hospital and had not been stopped by the police, she would have lived.]