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Batangas school torching probe will spare no one — official

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 03:42pm (Mla time) 05/20/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The investigation into the alleged involvement of policemen in the torching of a polling precinct in Batangas province will go higher than the superior of the four police operatives who have been disarmed and restricted to Camp Crame, an official said Sunday.

“The investigation is not limited to the four. Wala tayong ililigtas dito [We will spare no one here],” said Director Geary Barias, chief of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management.

Senior Superintendent Roger James Brillantes, chief of the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG), will be questioned on the whereabouts of his men last Tuesday, when five unidentified men set on fire at 3 a.m. an elementary school building in Panagbayan village, Taysan town, leaving two teachers on election duty killed.

Asked if investigators will stop at Brillantes, Barias told reporters: “We will go where the investigation takes us.”

Asked if the inquiry would include the Calabarzon regional police commander, Chief Superintendent Nicasio Radovan Jr., Barias said: “I cannot say. The investigation has a life of its own.”

Barias said all the M-16 rifles and .45-caliber pistols of the entire Calarzon RSOG will be submitted to ballistics tests. Spent shells of the said types of firearms were recovered from the burned down school.

“The firearms will be matched with the empty shells recovered,” he said.

The four policemen under restrictive custody — RSOG team leader Inspector Roberto Marinda, one of his men, Senior Police Officer 2 William Relos Jr., Taysan municipal police commander Chief Inspector Elpidio Ramirez, and his deputy, Inspector Ruel de la Cruz — were brought to Camp Crame last Friday.

Marinda and Relos could face arson and murder charges while Ramirez and Dela Cruz face administrative charges for not providing adequate security to the Pinagbayan elementary school.

During a visit to the wake of the two fatalities in the fire last Friday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered police to deliver “speedy justice” to the victims.

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-05-20T14:43:45+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Sun, 20 May 2007 14:43:45 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

Posted in Uncategorized

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