MANILA – Three policemen charged in the death of a foreign national drug suspect in Siargao Island last year have been directed to file their counter-affidavits by October 25.
Prosecutor Honey Delgado said the cases of murder, planting evidence, and perjury against Capt. Wise Vicente Panuelos, S/Sgt. Ronel Azarcon Pazo, and S/Sgt. Nido Boy Esmeralda Cortes are pending in connection with the death of Spanish national, Diego Lapuente, during a gunfight on Jan. 8, 2020.
Lapuente died of gunshot wounds at the Siargao District Hospital after a buy-bust operation that started at around 1:50 a.m. in Barangay 3, General Luna town, Surigao del Norte, led to the encounter.
An avid surfer, he owned establishments on the island where he lived for two years.
Seized from the suspect, identified by the police as a high-value target, were 10 grams of cocaine and an automatic pistol.
The operation was led by the Surigao del Norte Police Provincial Office, 1302 Police Mobile Company, and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
In a statement after the incident, Caraga police director, Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel Jr., said Lapuente engaged police officers in a shootout.
“Lapuente discerned that he was dealing with law enforcers and fired at them,” Esquivel stated.
Delgado told the media in a text message that the cases filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against the three members of the Siargao Island Municipal Police Station on September 17 were assigned to a prosecution panel three days later.
The Spanish government, through the Office of the Consulate General of Spain in Manila, sought action on the case. (PNA)