Norberto Maderal

Eyewitnesses interviewed for this article often contradicted the police version of events. Norberto Maderal’s nephew told Reuters that his uncle was unarmed – and that he heard Maderal begging for his life before the police began shooting.

Eyewitnesses interviewed for this article often contradicted the police version of events. Norberto Maderal’s nephew told Reuters that his uncle was unarmed – and that he heard Maderal begging for his life before the police began shooting.

Maderal’s nephew, Joemari Rodriguez, and other family members shared a house in North Bay Boulevard South, a district of teeming slums and trash-choked waterways in Navotas City. Reuters interviewed Rodriguez at the scene, less than two hours after the killings.

Rodriguez said he believes police executed his uncle but is too scared to lodge a complaint. “They might come back for me,” he told Reuters outside the house.

Still quivering with shock, he said three plainclothes men barged into their home and dragged his uncle into the living room. “They didn’t say who they were,” said Rodriguez, 24, a medical technician.

Rodriguez said a man pushed him into his room and the door was held shut from the outside. Rodriguez couldn’t see what happened next but said he could clearly hear his uncle pleading for his life. “He was begging them, ‘Sir, please!’” he said. Then came two shots.

Minutes later, Rodriguez emerged from his room to find the men gone and his uncle slumped in a puddle of blood. “There was a gun in his hand,” said Rodriguez. “I don’t know where he got this.” He said his uncle was a drug user, but didn’t own a gun and hadn’t fought back.

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