Manila (Philippines): Prosecutors have filed
murder charges against 25 policemen who allegedly pumped 80
bullets into a van carrying a man and his 7-year-old daughter
while chasing suspected robbers two years ago, officials said
Police officers in the Philippines are rarely convicted
despite frequent complaints that they are quick on the trigger
in a country where crime is rampant and guns easily available.
The Justice Department said it found probable cause to
indict the 25 officers in the death of Alfonso de Vera, 53,
and his daughter after witnesses testified that police
indiscriminately fired at the van without determining who was
The officers were chasing suspected bank robbers in a
Manila residential area in December 2008 when they strafed de
Vera`s van with 80 bullets, the indictment said.
When de Vera left the vehicle with his fatally wounded
daughter, the policemen followed and shot him in the head, the
Justice Department said. The policemen have said the civilians
were caught in the crossfire with the suspected robbers.
All 12 suspected robbers were also killed, along with a
policeman and another civilian. The metropolitan Manila police
chief at the time, Leopoldo Bataoil, described the shootout as
the bloodiest in recent memory.