WATCH | PINATAY O NAGPAKAMATAY? Man who went to Zamboanga to pay for child’s hospital bill found dead while under police custody

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Eduardo Serino Sr. (center, wearing a red shirt) arrested by policemen along R.T. Lim Boulevard in Zambonga City. Photo from Rosherl Taburnal Lumpapac's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — A man who was just supposed to look for additional cash to pay for the hospitalization of his child was apprehended by policemen in Zambonga City and was later on found dead — his body full of wounds and bruises — while in the custody of authorities.

According to the October 5 Facebook post of Rosherl Taburnal Lumpapac, the victim, Eduardo Serino Sr., the husband of Lumpapac’s former house helper, was from Brgy. Lintangan, Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte. He just went to Zamboanga City to pay for the hospital expense of his child, who figured in an accident.

Lumpapac said that according to Serino’s wife, when Eduardo found out that the cash he brought wasn’t enough to pay for his child’s hospitalization, he decided to go back to Lintangan supposedly to sleep at his house and then look for additional money the following day.

But Serino wasn’t able to go back home. Because he wasn’t familiar with Zamboanga, he lost his way and found himself along the city’s R.T. Lim Boulevard. He was then accosted by policemen, who asked him what was inside his bag.

Fearing that authorities would plant something in his luggage, just like what he saw on TV, Serino refused to let authorities see what was inside it, according to Lumpapac, quoting those who had witnessed the incident.

Eduardo Serino Sr. (center, wearing a red shirt) arrested by policemen along R.T. Lim Boulevard in Zambonga City. Photo from Rosherl Taburnal Lumpapac’s Facebook page

This prompted authorities to bring Serino to a police station.

Lumpapac said that according to Serino’s wife, only his personal belongings and his Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ID were inside his bag.

Hours later, Serino’s family received information that he was already dead.

Policemen pin Eduardo Serino Sr. to the ground after they arrested him along R.T. Lim Boulevard in Zambonga City. Photo from Rosherl Taburnal Lumpapac’s Facebook page

Lumpapac said that when she and her companions went to the wake of Serino, they weren’t able to recognize his gentle face as it was already covered with cuts and contusions.

According to Lumpapac, Serino was a very responsible father and a quiet and shy but helpful and very kind person, who didn’t have any enemies in his community.

(I)sang napaka responsibleng ama, tahimik, mahiyain, matulungin at napakabait na tao…people of Lintangan can really testify na walang naging kalaban itong taong to..Pumunta lamang s’ya ng Zamboanga City upang ihatid ang perang pang hospitalization ng anak na nadisgrasya,” she said.

‘Self-inflicted’

Serino’s death was “self inflicted,” the police said.

Authorities said that after he was arrested, Serino suddenly went berserk, slapped himself, and banged his head against the wall.

In an interview with Radyo 5, Senior Inspector Edwin Duco of the Zamboanga City police, sai, Serino was able to break free from his handcuffs after he allegedly performed some kind of ritual and then tried to grab a gun from a policeman.

Bigla siyang pumalag. Natanggal niya ang posas. Nakakahiya mang aminin…parang may ginagawa siyang ritwal ba. Naka-liberate po siya,” said Duco.

Asked by Radyo 5 why Serino would try to grab a gun when he didn’t commit any wrongdoing, Duco said, “Balisa ‘yong taong ito…kaya siya naging bayolente [He was anxious …that was why he became violent].”

The Zamboanga police presented inmates who were with Serino when the incident took place. They said it was Serino who had hurt himself and not authorities. One inmate said Serino even tried to pull a live wire inside the jail.

The police also said Serino was arrested not because he refused to show what was inside his bag but because he tried to stab a policewoman with a barbecue stick.

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