NANLABAN O TINULUYAN? Family of slain suspected pusher questions buy-bust

THE family of Giovanni Mejica Jr., an alleged drug peddler in Mandurriao, Iloilo who was killed in a police anti-narcotics operation, raised questions surrounding his death on June 12, 2019. (Contributed photo)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

DID Giovanni Mejica Jr., an alleged drug peddler in Mandurriao, Iloilo City who was killed in a police anti-narcotics operation, resist operatives?

Mejica’s family is inclined to believe otherwise.

Based on police reports, Mejica died when he allegedly shot a police officer who was about to arrest him during the buy-bust at their home in Block 10, Lot 5, Imperial VI Subdivision in Barangay Guzman Jesena, Mandurriao, Iloilo City past 10 a.m. on June 12, 2019.

Mejica also tried to reach for a grenade inside his room but police gunned him down.

But his relatives presented another version.

According to Nene, her brother Giovanni’s hands were already bound and he was already pinned to the wall before the supposed exchange of gunfire occurred.

Nene said they were surprised when around seven police officers arrived at their home on Wednesday.

One of the operatives said they were going to conduct an anti-drug operation but he did not identify their specific PNP unit.

She claimed that two policemen were watching over her while two others were looking out after her child who was inside a room at their house’s extension area.

The three policemen went inside the house, tied up Mejica’s hands, and brought him inside a room where he was slammed on the wall.

Shortly later, they brought Mejica into another room where gunfire volleys were heard.

A policeman later went out and claimed that Mejica resisted.

Nene insisted to check on her brother, but the two cops who guarded her prevented her from going inside the room. They were later told to get out of the compound.

Blood stains were found in the room where Mejica was first brought.

Meanwhile, reports claimed that the Scene of the Crime Operation (SOCO) team did not find any “bullet damage” inside the room. They also recovered a blood-stained towel from the crime scene.



On top of questions on the regularity of the operation, Mejica’s family claimed they also lost several valuables.

The missing items include four mobile phones, four watches, a gold-plated necklace, and Mejica’s sunglasses.

A P1,000 bill that Mejica’s mother placed inside her bag also went missing.



Meanwhile, the family appealed to Police Brigadier General John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, to ensure their security following the incident.

Nene fears that they might also suffer her brother’s bloody and cloudy end.

Nene said they are puzzled as to where the police recovered the caliber .38 revolver, the hand grenade, and the 49 sachets of illegal drugs being attributed to Mejica.

She claimed that her brother worked as a mobile phone repairman.

But Police Major Marlon Valencia, Mandurriao police chief, earlier claimed that Mejica is a high-value target (HVT) Level 1 drug personality.

Valencia said they lured Mejica to sell P30,000 worth of shabu which led to the buy-bust operation.

Barangay Captain Audie Bayona earlier claimed that the suspect was not included in the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) of drug personalities.



The Commission on Human Rights 6 (CHR-6) said it will investigate Mejica’s death.

CHR-6 supervising investigator Edgardo Luis said they will conduct a motu propio (official act taken without a formal request from another party) investigation and would get the side of Mejica’s family and the police operatives as well.



Police Colonel Martin Defensor, Jr., Iloilo City police chief, said he would stand by his personnel.

“I always presume the regularity of the operation conducted by my men,” Defensor said.

In the absence of any compelling evidence, Defensor said he is inclined to believe the police operatives’ version of the story.

“They told that the sale of illegal drugs was consummated. When the suspect noticed that he was dealing with policemen, he shot the first back-up cop to enter the house,” he said.

Defensor said a probe would always be welcome so that they can answer all allegations against them in the proper forum.

Meanwhile, Valencia said the CHR-6 is welcome to do its probe.

“The family could always allege but what’s new about it?” he said.

Mejica is the 85th fatality in Western Visayas since the government’s aggressive anti-drug campaign started in July 2016.

Antique province posted the most number of suspected drug peddlers killed in police operations.