The Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court has acquitted a “tokhang” survivor under the Duterte administration of direct assault charges filed by the police for insufficiency of evidence.
QC METC Branch 133 Judge Gloria Monica Lopez-Lao ruled that the prosecution “fell short as well of proving that accused Efren Morillo seriously resisted and attacked the police operatives.”
“None of the prosecution witnesses saw accused Morillo fire his gun.
Forthwith, the acquittal of the accused Morillo is in order,” Lopez-Lao said in a decision penned on March 3 but released just yesterday.
Policemen Emil Garcia, Allan Formilleza, James Aggarao, and Melchor Navisaga filed direct assault charges against Morillo for resisting arrest and attacking other police officers during an Oplan Tokhang operation in Barangay Payatas in August 2016.
Morillo played dead to save his life when he was shot in the chest. In March 2017, he then filed an administrative complaint against the police officers before the Office of the Ombudsman.
“The Prosecution was not shown to have conducted its Oplan Tokhang on the day of the incident in compliance with PNP Rules,” Lopez-Lao said.
“In this case, the operatives cannot be presumed to have in the valid performance of their duties due to the irregularities in their operations as they failed to coordinate with agencies and the barangay. As a consequence, the validity of their operation is tainted and the presumption of regularity no longer applies,” it added.