20 cops relieved over girl’s death

Edward Carranza

Edward E. Carranza has ordered the administrative relief of the chief of the Rodriguez Municipal Police Station in Rizal and 19  other local policemen as part of their continuing investigation into a deadly buy-bust operation in the area last Saturday which left one cop, two armed suspects and a 3-year old girl dead.

All 20 were transferred to the Administrative Office and Holding Unit of the Rizal Police Provincial Office so that they can be readily available for investigation and to pave the way for an impartial probe, said Carranza.

The 20 policemen—14 from the Rodriguez police and six from the Rizal PPO’s Provincial Intelligence Branch— were also instructed to surrender their respective firearms for a ballistics test to determine the source of the bullet that killed 3-year old Kateleen Myca Ulpina.

The young girl is the daughter of Renato Ulpina, one of the two suspects killed in the shootout which also ended the life of Senior Master Sergeant Conrado Cabigao Jr.

According to Carranza, he has instructed the PRO4-A Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division to spearhead the investigation into the operation. If it will turn out that one of the 20 policemen really fired the shots that killed the girl, he could be charged with homicide.

Ulpina, according to reports was the one who fired first at Sgt. Cabigao who was forced to retaliate. However, despite being wounded already, the suspect grabbed his daughter and used her as a ‘human shield’ to prevent other officers from firing at him.

Officers negotiated with the suspect to surrender peacefully and hand over her child to them, reports said. When the suspect sensed that his daughter was badly injured with blood all over her body, he let go of the victim who was rushed by the policemen to a local hospital where she died while undergoing treatment, reports added.

The wife of Ulpina claimed there was no shootout but admitted that her husband really owned a gun.

Rizal police director, Colonel Lou F. Evangelista said that Ulpina is one of the province’s most wanted criminals who is known for his involvement in gun-for-hire, car theft and illegal drug activities before police tracked him down last week.

Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said that Cabigao is the 50th member of the police force to have been killed since the Duterte government launched its war on drugs in July 2016.

The 37-year old Cabigao left behind a wife named Mae and their two children aged 12 and seven.

The other slain suspect was identified as Renato Dolorfina.

Carranza said that members of the Rodriguez Municipal Police Station and the Rizal Police Provincial Office’s Provincial Intelligence Branch  conducted the buy-bust operation along Pines Street in Metro Manila Hills Subdivision, Barangay San Jose in Rodriguez around 7:40 a.m. last Saturday.

Carranza said prior to the shootout, Cabigao acted as the undercover agent who bought shabu from the two suspects. However, Dolorfina recognized Cabigao as a cop and pulled out a concealed firearm and started shooting at the cop who was hit in the neck.

Although wounded, the policeman managed to return fire at the suspect. The second suspect also fired shots at the lawmen and even grabbed his child and used the kid as a ‘human shield.’

Cabigao was the latest Rizal policeman to be killed in a shootout with armed drug dealers in the province. Last April 23, Patrolman Ariel Dapyawen of the Antipolo City Police Station was killed in a gunfight with a group of notorious shabu traffickers in the city.

Two of the suspects were also killed while a second policeman was wounded during the buy-bust operation which turned deadly, said Rizal Police Provincial Office director, Colonel Lou F. Evangelista.

Evangelista said that the suspects apparently sensed they were dealing with undercover policemen and started firing at Dapyawen and his companion, Staff Sergeant Joseph Monjardin. Dapyawen was hit in the body several times while Monjardin was shot in the stomach.

Back-up officers gunned down the two suspects in an ensuing shootout.