SLAIN RANKING COP LAID TO REST SANS BURIAL HONORS
NO BURIAL HONORS. The wake of Supt. Santiago Rapiz at the Rolling Hills Memorial Chapels, a day before he was laid to rest at the Rose Lawns Memorial Park in Bacolod City on Sunday. (Photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)
BACOLOD CITY -- The late Supt. Santiago Ylanan Rapiz was not accorded police honors when he was laid to rest here on Sunday, almost a week after he was killed as a suspect in a buy-bust operation in Dipolog City.
Rapiz, a former chief of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) Drug Enforcement Unit, was the head of the logistics branch of Zamboanga del Norte Police Provincial Office when he died on November 5.
Chief Insp. Sherlock Gabana, public information officer of BCPO, said police or military honors are given only to personnel who died in the performance or in the line of duty as well as to retired police officers and to those honorably separated from the service.
Personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) killed as a suspect or involved in any illegal activity are not accorded with funeral honors, he added.
Full funeral honors given to a police officer include the 21-gun salute, and police officers as pall bearers who carry the casket.
For the 53-year-old Rapiz, who was buried on Sunday noon at the Rose Lawns Memorial Park in Barangay Bata, a reminder that he served as a police officer for three decades was the Philippine flag draped on his casket alongside his Pershing cap. A photo of him in full dress blue uniform was placed beside his coffin.
Rapiz was among the policemen from Negros Occidental and Bacolod City transferred to Mindanao in 2016 after they were linked to the illegal drug trade. He had then denied the allegations.
At his wake in Rolling Hills Memorial Chapels a day before his interment, his wife Michelle, assisted by counsel Tranquilino Gale, called for a congressional inquiry on Rapiz’s death and appealed for President Rodrigo Duterte’s help for justice.
She denied the allegations her husband was involved in illegal drugs as a protector of the late Iloilo drug lord Melvin Odicta and called the police report about his death as misleading and lies.
Mrs. Rapiz said she believes that a buy-bust operation did not happen. She also said the lights went out after he was shot, and it took an hour for the operatives to bring him to the hospital.
Rapiz was killed after he reportedly sold PHP50,000 of suspected shabu to a poseur-buyer and fired at the operatives. The operation was conducted by the PNP Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) inside the campus of Andres Bonifacio College on the night of Nov. 5.
Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup, director of Police Regional Office-9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), said in an earlier report the joint operation of the CITF and PDEA was legitimate.
PDEA coordinated with PRO-9 before the operation, he added. (PNA)