False narratives from police on shooting incident prompts family of victim to speak out

Jul. 10, 2022

Photo from Justice for Amier Mangacop Facebook page.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The family of 19-year old Amierkhan Mangacop, who was killed in a shooting incident in a bar last July 2, has spoken out on the Philippine National Police’s ‘wrong portrayal’ of Amierkhan and requested the National Bureau of Investigation to lead the probe on this case.

In a press conference Friday morning, Amierkhan’s uncle and guardian, Anwar, refuted the police’s claim that his nephew was high on drugs and was involved in an altercation with the suspect.

Police reports said Amierkhan was shot seven times by Dr. Marvin Rey Andrew Pepino, a non-uniformed personnel of PNP Region 11 at Lugar Bar located at corners Mapa and Camus Extension Street.

“Ang cause sa iyahang death kay binaril…binaril ni Dr. Marvin Rey Pepino og seven times, seven times. Asa man ang self defense ato? Ang ginapangayo lang gyud sa pamilya is hustiya, justice. Maskin kinsa sa atoa pwedi to mahitabo, pwedi man mahitabo nga pag-ultimo ra ka,” Anwar said while in tears in the press conference in their residence. (The cause of his death is him being shot — seven times. Where is the self-defense in that? We only demand justice. This can happen to anyone of us, it can happen to anyone who is poor.)

The family also refuted claims from the police that they are an influential family. Davao City Police Chief Colonel Alberto Lupas alleged that one of the victim’s siblings is a regional director of the Commission on Audit.

Anwar said Amierkhan’s parents are farmers in Maguindanao. He took care of Amierkhan since he was six and brought him to Davao City to study.

Amierkhan is a grade 9 student of Catalunan Grande National High School.

“We feel that there is a necessity for the family to make a statement to clear the narrative that has been peddled by the PNP as an organization that the family of the victim has the capability to make .. manipulation and…influence the investigation or to make any retaliation,” their lawyer Gibb Andrew Cabahug said.

Emotional about the incident, Amierkhan’s father (whose name is requested to be hidden) speaking in Maguindanao, hopes he sees the suspect who killed his son in jail.

The PNP claimed that Pepino fought back in an altercation. But on the Facebook page Justice for Amier Mangacop, it narrated that Amierkhan went to Lugar Bar with relatives to fetch a cousin in the bar. He ended up being shot by Pepino.

‘Lack of trust’

The police’s statement prompted the family to request a transfer of investigation to National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Davao to probe the case against Pepino.

In a request letter of the Mangacop family’s legal counsel dated July 5, 2022 to the Davao City Prosecution Office chief Jhopee Avanceña, and Inquest Prosecutor Irene Joy Montero and the National Bureau of Investigation XI, their camp demanded the San Pedro Police Station and the PRO Davao to “inhibit from investigating the case.”

They also requested that the case investigation and case files, including those in possession of the PNP Davao Cybercrime Unit for forensic “be transferred to NBI Region XI” starting July 5, 2022.

“Given the statements and actions of the Davao police officers mentioned, the victim’s family feels that the PNP Davao region cannot objectively and fairly continue with the investigation of the murder case. The family is hesitant to forward to the Davao police the name of witnesses and pieces of evidence for fear of suppression or whitewash,” he stated.

The counsel cited both interviews of Maj. Benjalin Baluan, the chief of police of San Pedro Police Station on July 2, 2022 and Lupas on July 4, 2022 where they said the murder is due to self defense.

Lupas in an interview described the suspect as someone who is “very professional and kind” with no derogatory record.

Atty. Cabahug stressed that while there is an ongoing investigation about the incident, they have observed a different treatment on Pepino who is a son of the late Gen. Marvin Manuel Pepino, director of the Cybercrime Investigation Office of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center.

“The PNP adopting the defense of the accused that it was self-defense on the part of the accused, is making the accused the victim when the accused is the unlawful aggressor in this case. In the true narrative,” Cabahug said.

Another issue is that the PNP has not released the mugshot of Pepino to the public.

Following the request of the family, the NBI Davao was directed by the City Prosecution office to ‘submit additional evidence relative to the case” in a letter dated July 7, 2022. They are expected to conduct a parallel investigation and submit the findings within the 10-day period of the submission of the counter affidavit.

The NBI said they have already requested their team in Metro Manila to help with the investigation and they are expected to arrive on Monday the same day they plan to facilitate the re-enactment of the incident based on the testimonies of the witnesses.

(F)rom the request of the family of the victim, we will gather additional pieces of evidence that we can and of course we will submit it to the office of the prosecutor,” said Sgt. Juhary Guro, who is handling the investigation.

As of July 7, NBI Spokesperson Ely Leano said they have already talked with the legal counsel of the complainant and witnesses.

The investigators and Mangacop’s counsel refused to answer questions on the reason behind the altercation that involved Pepino and the cousins of the victim. The NBI said they are still investigating and acquiring CCTV copy from the building and are in the process to know the identity of the bar owner. (davaotoday.com)

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