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Family of slain rider cries foul

The family of the motorcycle rider shot dead inside a mobile car of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) last Friday has sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the circumstances of his death.

John dela Riarte, 26, was shot four times inside the police car while being transported to Camp Crame for investigation.

Police said Riarte, who was handcuffed, grabbed the pistol of one of the arresting officers, prompting lawmen to shoot him to death.

Riarte, who was onboard a motorcycle, was arrested after bumping a vehicle on EDSA in Makati, according to police reports.

Investigators said Riarte was “frantically smashing” the vehicle driven by Eric Felix Fajardo, 40, before he was arrested by police.

Police said Riarte was under the influence of illegal drugs when the incident happened.

Yesterday, Robert, the 20-year-old brother of Riarte, however, disputed the police claim.

“Hindi drug user ang kapatid ko. Ang nangyari sa kanya ay hindi makatarungan. Yes, this is a murder,” Robert said.

“Nakakatawa ’yung basehan nila, kasi sabi lang nila nagwawala ’yung kapatid ko na parang adik, hindi sila sigurado,” he added.

Robert said his brother had recently tested negative for drugs during his application for employment. He said his brother was on his way to work before he was killed.

Earlier, his family branded the shooting as “overkill,” noting that they have yet to receive “any clear explanation of the incident.”

“What they told us was the general story. When I was at the hospital, an officer, a certain Inspector Abasco told me that my brother grabbed the pistol of the officer and he was just restrained,” Robert cried out in frustration.

“Noong nasa ospital kami, ’yung Inspector Abasco, nilapitan ako at kinausap, sinabi sa ’kin na ‘wag mong ipapamedia ‘to dahil magmumukhang katawa-tawa ang pamilya niyo’,” Robert recalled.

Robert said investigators told them that his brother had mocked Fajardo’s wife while allegedly smashing the vehicle using his helmet.

Robert said they decided to seek help to the NBI because they want to know what really transpired during the incident.

“I don’t care, I don’t care, brother ko ‘yan, I have emotions. When somebody get killed in my family even get hurt, we will fight back to protect our family,” Robert said.

Robert recalled the last few days of his slain brother.

“He is a cheerful person, he wants to keep the family smiling all the time, in fact the night before he died, he stayed late just to make my sister happy on her birthday who was in Singapore,” Robert said.

“Kagagaling lang namin sa isang charity event noong nakaraan, nagpakain kami sa isang orphanage, paano nila sasabihin na adik ’yung boyfriend ko,” Riarte’s girlfriend said. (BETHEENA KAE UNITE)