By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — A policeman was stripped of all his benefits and is perpetually disqualified for re-employment in any government service after the Quezon City People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) dismissed him for shooting a man during a scuffle using his service firearm while the election gun ban was in effect in Barangay Greater Lagro, Quezon City.
In a 10-page decision, the PLEB found PSMS Chester Garchitorena guilty of Conduct Unbecoming of a Police Officer and Grave Misconduct, according to Atty. Rafael Calinisan, Executive Officer of the PLEB.
Garchitorena was assigned with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame.
The complaint against Garchitorena stemmed from an incident on February 18, 2022, around 11:30 p.m. when he was involved in a fight with the complainant, Florose Buenafe, and the policeman’s friends, led by Michael Parayno.
In his complaint before the PLEB, Buenafe said the confrontation started when Parayno gestured a bad finger sign towards Levee Reynoso, who was just peacefully hanging out with Buenafe and their friends.
In an effort to ease the tension, Buenafe approached Parayno and escorted the latter to his car. Upon Buenafe’s prodding, Parayno left the area.
A few moments later, Parayno returned with his friends, including Garchitorena, and a melee ensued. In a CCTV video, Garchitorena was seen carrying a sling bag that contained his government-issued firearm.
During the clarificatory hearing, it was established that Garchitorena shot Buenafe on his leg while his other friends beat up Reynoso, who sustained a skull fracture.
“What’s more bothersome in this incident is that sina Buenafe na ang sinugod at binaril, siya pa ang inarestong walang warrant, ikinulong at kinasuhan (What’s more bothersome in this incident is it was who was attacked and shot yet he was the one arrested without warrant, jailed and indicted). While the policeman went scot-free prior to this case. Just terrible,” Calinisan said.
“The PLEB is open to the possibility of investigating this case further,” he added.
Calinisan noted that the incident happened when the gun-ban was in effect. The gun ban took effect on January 9, 2022 and ended last June 8, 2022.
Mayor Joy Belmonte, who recently won a fresh three-year mandate, lauded the efforts of the PLEB.
“It is frustrating to know that our police officers forget their sworn duty at times and allow themselves to be involved in situations like this. Garchitorena acted in a way that is very uncharacteristic for a member of the uniformed service,” Belmonte said.
“We are very hopeful since the PLEB in our city is working. Katuwang natin sila in making sure that erring policemen are held accountable [They are our partners in making sure that erring policemen are held accountable],” she added.
The Mayor also took the opportunity to inform the public that aside from disciplining erring cops, she plans to award police officers who deserve commendation.
“Dito sa QC ang abusadong pulis, hinuhuli. Pero dapat parangalan ang mabuti (Here in QC we arrest abusive policemen but we must commend those good ones)”, Belmonte stressed.
“The PLEB and the City Government intend to award deserving policemen soon, so that they may be emulated by their peers,” she added. (ai/mtvn)