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QCPD chief: Argoncillo death 'something bound to happen' because of congested jails

Quezon City Police District director Chief Superintendent Joselito Esquivel Jr. on Friday reminded his men to strong amid the furor following the death of a detainee while in police custody.

Esquivel made the pronouncement amid the furor over the death of Genesis "Tisoy" Argoncillo earlier this week while in police custody, as he claimed that police operations against 'tambay' or night-time idlers have received "more positive feedback than negative."

"I have more positive feedbacks than negative but I'm not taking this easy, that's why I'm investigating to the full, we will look who is responsible, bakit namatay si Tisoy, 'yung pumatay case will be filed in court," he said.

"But gusto ko lang i-deliver din sa aking station commanders, sa aking men under my command, 'wag kayong panghinaan ng loob, this thing happens. Talagang congested 'yung jail, something like this is bound to happen," he added.

Esquivel said that while the QCPD "will do everything to find justice for Tisoy," it will not stop them from their mandate to enforce the law.

"We will not back down from this campaign, we will see to it to the last pusher or user in the barangay and to those people who [think] they can urinate in public in Quezon City, it's a criminal offense, if you think you can walk around [half-naked], it's

QCPD personnel said Argoncillo was arrested for alleged "alarm and scandal" last June 15.

He died in detention at at Quezon City Police Station 4 in Novaliches, with the QCPD initially claiming that his death was due to difficulty in breathing.

Aside from Argoncillo, the QCPD reported four other persons under custody  have also died after allegedly complained of difficulty breathing. Three of them were in the same detention cell as Argoncillo while the other was detained in Cubao Police Station.

The QCPD identified the said detainees as:

  • Alex Andaman, arrested on June 2, for Illegal Gambling and died on June 18
  • Paulo Lopez, arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest for estafa and died on June
  • Niño Cruz, arrested by virtue of warrants of arrest for physical injury and unjust vexation on May 19 and died on June 1
  • Jeffrey Norio, arrested on May 16 for illegal gambling and died on May 29

As of June 19, Esquivel said that there are 135 PUCs at Quezon City Police Station 4 in Novaliches which was only meant to detain at least 40 individuals.

Citing the findings of the victim's attending physician Dr. Jethiel Fabon, the QCPD first said that Argoncillo was not mauled as the deceased's body bore "no signs of external injuries."

However, the QCPD on Friday admitted that Argoncillo was indeed beaten up, citing the autopsy result and his death certificate which showed that the victim's immediate cause of death was "multiple blunt force trauma" in his "neck, head, chest and upper extremities."

"Just to be clear, we are not changing the tune of our press release, we stand by the fact that at the time of the death, the report was that, there was no external injury and we did not stop at that because no less than the aunt and the sister is saying something is amiss here," Esquivel said.

"So we investigated and we've come to a conclusion last night, there was indeed beating up that resulted to the death of Tisoy," he added. —JST, GMA News