SUICIDE OR HOMICIDE? Questions shroud cop’s death inside PNP barracks

MYSTERY still surrounds the death of Patrolman Richard Villasis inside their barracks at Barangay Mabini, Escalante City, Negros Occidental last June 14, 2019. (Contributed photo)

By: Glazyl Y. Masculino and Jomarie A. Billones

THE family of a 24-year-old police officer from Jamindan, Capiz who was found dead inside a police barracks in Escalante City Negros Occidental on June 14, 2019, cannot believe that their kin committed suicide.

Alicia Villasis, 68, said there is no reason for her son, Patrolman Richard Villasis, of Barangay Jaena Norte, Jamindan to take his own life.

Villasis, who joined the police three years ago, was found dead inside his quarters at the barracks of the 1st Negros Occidental Police Mobile Force (NOCPFMC) in Barangay Mabini, Escalante City past 6 p.m. Friday.

Alicia also denied reports that her son was suffering from depression or any mental illness.

But she confirmed that she accompanied her son for a medical checkup when he went home to Capiz in May 2019. She even reminded him to be careful and always rest.

The youngest of their children, Alicia said Villasis always sent them money during payday.

Based on reports from Bacolod City, Villasis succumbed to a gunshot wound on his chest.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Solis, commander of the NOCPFMC’s 1st platoon, said Police Staff Sgt. Romel Aguilar went to Villasis’ quarters to borrow a protective helmet.

Aguilar then found Villasis slumped on his back with blood flowing out of his chest.

Solis claimed that Villasis used his service firearm in committing suicide.

“He wrapped the gun with a towel to muffle the explosion,” Solis said.

Solis said they also noticed something unusual with the victim’s right eye when he was found inside his barracks, but he said only a doctor can tell what caused the injury.

Based on photos received by the Daily Guardian from sources, Villasis’s right eye appeared to have been gouged out of its socket.

Police recovered from the scene Villasis’s .45-caliber pistol, a fired ammunition casing, a magazine, and five live ammunitions of the same caliber.

Solis said he visited the barracks on June 11 but he did not see Villasis because the latter was part of the team that secured the fiesta of Toboso town.

Villasis returned to their barracks on June 13.

Solis said he and fellow officers have no idea why Villasis would commit suicide.

When asked if there’s foul play in the incident, Solis said physical evidence will tell what really happened.

Solis also denied reports that Villasis died of hazing, claiming they do not tolerate such a thing.