Just a few days before President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office, Malacañang Palace has cleared the name of the leader of one of the deadliest teams in the forefront of Duterte’s war on drugs, which allegedly killed a minor during a buy-bust operation in 2016.
This puts an end to a six-year battle for justice fought by 17-year-old Darwin Hamoy’s mother against the Davao Boys – a team of officers belonging to Batasan Police Station 6 in Quezon City – which was reportedly the most lethal squad during the heigh of Duterte’s anti-drug operations from July 2016 to June 2017.
In a document dated May 25, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea ordered the dismissal of the administrative charges filed against Col. Lito Patay, former head of Batasan Police Station 6, for his alleged role in Hamoy’s death.
The victim was killed along with Cherwen Polo, William Bordeos, Sherwin Ternal and a certain “Rambo” in a raid conducted in Barangay Payatas B in Quezon City by Station 6 cops on August 15, 2016.
Like other repeated drug war narrative by the authorities, Patay said his officers only killed armed suspects who fought back. In the case of Hamoy and company, the team claimed that those killed had engaged the cops in a gunfight.
Mariza Hamoy, mother of Darwin, along with widows Katrina Polo and Marlyn Bordeos claimed otherwise and filed complaints at the Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Services (PNP-IAS) and the Office of the Ombudsman.
This led to the PNP-IAS filing charges of grave misconduct and grave irregularity in 2018 against the 16 policemen involved in the incident. Patay was also charged with two counts of grave neglect of duty and one count each of less grave neglect of duty and simple neglect of duty.
Although the PNP-IAS that the victim’s families’ accounts were more convincing, the Malacañang still believes otherwise, citing a PNP resolution date April 29, 2020 stating that there was “no substantial evidence…[to] point to the fact that respondent Patay was remiss in his performance of duties.”
Medialdea said that Patay’s only participation in the operation was being the station commander.
“No other substantial proof was submitted to corroborate the charge that respondent Patay directly or indirectly had a hand in the supposedly unlawful killing of the drug suspects and injury to them,” Medialdea argued.
Patay, like other key police officers in Duterte’s drug war was among the Davao cops personally trusted and later handpicked by former PNP chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa.
Station 6, where Patay was from, reportedly killed 108 people in anti-drug operations from July 2016 through June 2017, the campaign’s first year, accounting for 39% of the city’s body count, according to Quezon City Police District crime reports.
Duterte’s murderous ‘war on the poor’ – as human rights activists call it – is currently under the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.
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