US Navy probes death of officer at Manila airport
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 16:14:00 12/28/2010 MANILA, Philippines—United States authorities are conducting a parallel probe into the case of a Filipino-American US Navy officer who jumped to his death from a police station at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Monday after he was arrested for drug possession.
Superintendent Manuel Pintado, deputy chief of the Police Center for Aviation Security (PCAS), said his office was cooperating fully with two agents of the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service who were looking into the alleged suicide of Lt. Cmdr. Scintar B. Mejia.
“We have nothing to hide,” he said. Although there was no suspicion of foul play in Mejia’s death, he said they were prepared to answer any questions and to be as transparent as possible.
Pintado said a team of American forensic experts was also expected to arrive to conduct an autopsy on Mejia’s body, and to ship it back to the United States.
The Navy officer, who had been taken to the PCAS office at NAIA Terminal 1 following his arrest on Sunday night for alleged possession of a sachet containing cocaine, jumped headlong into a stairwell on the second floor of the building.
Pintado said Mejia’s actions before and after his arrest were a mystery.
He said he learned from the US authorities that Mejia had arrived on Christmas day, stayed in a Manila hotel and arranged for a flight back the following day. He was carrying $30,600 in his pocket.
On Monday morning, Mejia told his guards that he wanted to go to the toilet. When they went there and found it occupied, the Fil-Am insisted on going outside the building to relieve himself, the police said.
As he and his guards were walking toward the exit, Mejia, who was in handcuffs, ran away and jumped into a stairwell. He fell headfirst from a height of at least 10 feet.
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