Angela Lafuente has been trying to get hold of SOCO’s autopsy report for her brother Angelo, who was murdered in August after witnesses said he was detained by police. She believes it could prove that police were involved in his gruesome death.
According to Navotas City police records, Lafuente’s body was found on August 19 at about 3.20 a.m. next to a filthy river that feeds into the bay under C-3 bridge. His corpse was riddled with bullets and covered with what his family said were signs of torture – deep cuts and cigarette burns.
The deaths of Lafuente and two companions cast doubt on police claims that they have nothing to do with vigilante-style killings.
Two eyewitnesses said Lafuente, 22, was last seen alive in police custody on August 18, about 12 hours before his body was found. Police, including a SWAT team, had swept through his squatter settlement, a dense jumble of shacks near Navotas fishmarket. The operation, according to police records, turned deadly when police shot and killed three other men who opened fire or tried to open fire on them.
When police arrived that afternoon, Lafuente ran, said his sister Angela. Running with him was a cousin, Renato Forio, 26, and another local known only as Benjie, also in his early to mid-twenties.
Angela and other residents say the three young men were caught by police near the main road that runs past the settlement. Standing in a crowd on the other side of the road, Angela said she saw men in plainclothes bundle her brother, Forio and Benjie into a marked police van.
Elisa Martinez, 59, a local resident, was standing closer to the police van. She saw three young men emerge from the van, their hands tied behind their backs. She told Reuters they were put onto motorbikes ridden by masked men in civilian clothes, and driven away.
Angela went to the station to look for Lafuente, Forio and Benjie. She didn’t find them. She returned home. Around 2 a.m., a neighbor told her that three bodies had been discovered. “We knew then that Angelo was dead,” she said.
His body was found with Benjie’s by C-3 bridge. According to Angelo Lafuente’s death certificate, the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds to the “head, trunk (and) right lower extremity.”