NEW THEORY, ANOTHER MYSTERY: Negros police eye ‘accidental firing’ in cop’s death

Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office director. (Glazyl Y. Masculino)

By: Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) is probing the possibility that the death of a police officer inside a police barracks in Escalante City, Negros Occidental on June 15, 2019 was a case of accidental gun discharge.

In a phone interview with the Daily Guardian on Monday, Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, Nocppo director, said he is not convinced that Patrolman Richard Villasis, 26, of Jamindan, Capiz province, committed suicide.

Villasis’ family also questioned his death saying there is no reason for the young cop to take his own life.

Villasis was found dead inside the barracks of the Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company in Barangay Mabini last Saturday.

He allegedly shot his chest with his caliber .45 service pistol which he wrapped with a towel to muffle the explosion.

Baleros said Villasis was shot at close range because of smudging or gunpowder burns around the entry wound.

He added that Villasis was probably holding his gun when it accidentally fired and resulted in his death.

“Even senior police officers sometimes commit accidental firing,” he added.

But Baleros said they will wait for the results of the paraffin test on Villasis.

Noccpo is also investigating why Villasis wrapped a towel around his gun.

Despite the Villasis family’s disbelief of the suicide angle, Baleros maintained that there was no second party involved behind his death, adding that even his colleagues were surprised about the incident.

Baleros said Villasis never incurred negative or derogatory records since joining the police service three years ago.

Baleros said they are continuously probing the incident to determine what really happened.

Due to the incident, he reminded unit heads to check their officers’ morale and to talk to them to determine if they have problems or suffering from depression.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Solis, force commander, said yesterday that they are willing to cooperate in the investigation if the family needs their assistance.

Solis said he already talked with the victim’s sister and assured her that the process of the investigation will be followed.

“We respect their statement and we also support the investigation. We are willing to assist them if they need our help,” he added.