Philippines News Agency, BusinessMirror

LAWYER Glenn Chong, an election reform advocate and now senatorial aspirant, cried foul over police allegations that his slain bodyguard is a member of a syndicate, and described the alleged “encounter” as orchestrated by lawmen.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday, Chong claimed his aide Richard Y. Santillan was murdered, contrary to police report that he figured in an early Monday dawn ambush.

Richard Y. Santillan
Richard Y. Santillan

“Nakita ko yung sasakyan ko (I saw my car), it was riddled with bullets,” Chong said.

In his Facebook post Monday, Chong dared people to look at his car to determine if “it was an encounter or an ambush”.

He said his aide was allegedly ambushed by the police in Cainta, Rizal.

He added that he and Santillan were together in Naga City for some political activities related to his senatorial bid, but the latter sought permission to leave ahead for a gift-giving engagement for indigent children on Sunday in Cainta, Rizal.

“Ang ginagawa po niya, pumupunta po siya sa mga schools na may mahihirap na mga bata. Tapos pinasusulat niya ng wish list for Christmas. Tapos, he and our group requested our friends for the gifts, na idi-distribute niya. Sunday, he was scheduled to distribute it, kaya pinayagan ko siya na umuwi na mauna(What he does is that he goes to schools where there are poor school children. Then, he requests the kids to write their wish list for Christmas. Then, he and our group request our friends for the gifts which he would later distribute. Sunday, he was scheduled to distribute it, that’s why I allowed him to leave ahead of me),” Chong said.

He said Santillan was with a group of police, fire, jail officers and army at that time for the gift-giving activities.

He claimed his aide was allegedly murdered by the police at around 2 a.m. on December 10 in Cainta, Rizal, based on a video they have obtained.

According to Chong, the video footage showed there were patrol cars in front and at the back of Santillan’s car, contrary to the police spot report that his aide engaged lawmen in a shootout.

“That’s against human nature kung alam mong may patrol car sa harap, may patrol car sa likod (if you are aware you have a patrol car in front, and a patrol car at the back),” he said.

He also belied police claims they found in Santillan’s possession three packets of shabu, adding that “when the victim is dead you can always plant evidence there.”

He also pointed some loopholes in the police spot report on allegations that Santillan was a suspected member of the Highway Boys Group which operates in Taytay, Cainta and Pasig City.

“Papatunayan ko sa husgado na si Richard Santillan ay katabi ko halos 24/7. Lahat ng kaibigan ko, kilala si Richard Santillan. Kung si Bong Go ay kay Pangulo, si Richard Santillan naman kay Glenn Chong [ I will prove in court that Richard Santillan is practically with me 24/7. All of my friends know Richard Santillan. If Bong Go is with President Duterte, then Richard Santillan is with Glenn Chong],” read Chong’s post on his FB account.

“In my eight years, even in my associations with politicians and high-profile persons [they] know that Richard is always with me, and I also introduced him to the “big” personages, because I treat him as a brother,” Chong said.

He also confirmed that he gifted Santillan with a Gloc firearm registered under his aide’s name and that Santillan may not have brought the registered firearm with him during the incident. Chong suspects the firearms and a grenade were planted as these were reportedly found in his aide’s possession.

He added that to his knowledge, Santillan had no known “enemies” except some people in Smartmatic and the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Chong had been a thorn in Smartmatic’s side since the 2010 elections, when it won the Comelec bidding to provide the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) for the country’s first automated elections. Chong was among the first and most consistent critics of the PCOS system, which he said could be gamed.

“Malinaw ang mensahe nito sa akin. Wala akong ibang kalaban maliban sa sindikatong riding in tandem – ang Comelec at Smartmatic. Ito lang ang tanging anggulo na nakikita ko. Tinatakot nila ako at gusto nila akong pilayan by going after the people na malapit sa akin. HINDI SILA MAGWAWAGI [The message is clear to me. I have no known enemy except the syndicate riding in tandem—Comelec and Smartmatic. This is the only angle I can see here. They are trying to scare me and are paralyzing me by getting rid of people around me. THEY WILL NOT SUCCEED],” he said.

A police spot report said Santillan was driving Chong’s car when still unidentified assailants peppered the car with bullets, killing him instantly in what police reported as an “encounter”.

Reports said there were 30 bullet holes in the car, and Chong said the incident proved the attackers were keen on killing their target.

Chong is known to be an election reform advocate and was the one who exposed the alleged anomaly in the 2016 vice-presidential race between Leni Robredo and Bongbong Marcos.

He added that Smartmatic had a hand in the cheating and that he was relentless in his pursuit of the truth when he testified about the alleged electoral fraud in both Senate and House hearings.

A summary report on Monday from the Cainta Municipal Police Station said “at about 1 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2018, the Highway Patrol Group (HPG)-Provincial Highway Patrol Team (PHPT)- Rizal conducted a spot operation in Barangay San Andres, Cainta, Rizal where they chanced upon one unit of Toyota Fortuner with plate number NOF 845 and upon checking at STRADCOM, the said vehicle was not registered since 2015.

The report said the highway patrol team flagged down the said vehicle, but instead of stopping, it fled heading towards Westbank floodway to Taytay direction and a brief chase ensued.

“HPG immediately coordinated with Cainta MPS and RID RSOU (personnel) who were conducting casing and surveillance within AOR and a dragnet operation was immediately established.”

Upon flagging down the said vehicle, the suspects fired upon the operatives instead of surrendering.

A brief exchange of fire ensued, resulting in their instantaneous deaths.

The two unidentified suspects were reportedy members of Highway Boys, whose leader, a certain alias Barry and his cohort, eluded arrest.

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