As the war on illegal drug enters the third month under President Rodrigo Duterte, dead bodies continue to be included in the on-going count of fatalities and collateral damage of the operation.
In Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, a four year old girl is the latest inclusion to the body count.
Althea Fhem Barbon died Thursday at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete City, where she fought for her life until she expired about noontime of Thursday.
The girl was hit by police gunfire during a conduct of an anti-illegal drug operation in Guihulngan on Tuesday evening. Her father was the subject of a police buy-bust operation.
The police report claim the father had used the girl as a human shield during the encounter, It ended in the shooting of Aldrick Barbon, the father. Police alleges Barbon drew his gun.
But the police claim was disproven by Dr. Jess Cañete, special investigator and chief of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Oriental.
According to the motu propio investigation conducted on Thursday, the father did not use the girl as a human shield.
The father brough the girl to the designated place where the supposed drug transaction would have taken place. The two undercover cops, one driving a motorcycle and the other, an undercover poseur-buyer did not notice her at all, said Cañete.
The police confided to Cañete later they saw what looked like just a bundle that Barbon was carrying.
Cañete disclosed that based on his investigation, Barbon arrived at the designated area and had parked his motorcycle close enough to where the undercover police were parked.
Barbon sensed that there were cops and allegedly pulled out a caliber .38 revolver and aimed it at them but did not fire it.
The poseur-buyer behind the driver-cop, fired the first shot that hit the alleged suspect on the side, according to Cañete.
Then Barbon drove on his motorcycle for about 75 meters under the pursuit of the two cops.
Witnesses on the scene told Canete that Barbon drove his motrocycle for about 75 meter with the police on pursuit. It was during that time a second shot was fired by one of the cops.
Barbon fell off his motorcycle and the police in pursuit noticed the girl.
Cañete so believe the bullet that pierced through the father’s back also hit the girl.
While Barbon was brought to the Guihulngan hospital, he was declared dead on arrival by attending physician Dr. Alain Go.
Althea was transferred to the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete City, where she fought for her life until around noontime of Thursday.
Recovered from the crime scene were one caliber .38 revolver with five live ammunition, one sachet of suspected shabu, one P500 bill, four sachets of suspected shabu, a mobile phone, and a Kawasaki KLX motorcycle. (With report from PNA)
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