SOME 400 Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) personnel staged an indignation rally Wednesday, January 4, following the death of their colleague Cris Cabingas, who was shot while on duty in Cogon public market last December 30.
Cabingas was walking along Guillermo St. in Cogon public market to monitor the traffic situation there when a gunman on board a motorcycle shot him from behind three times around 6 p.m. on December 30. He died early Saturday morning, December 31.
RTA Chief Jose Edgardo Uy said the “solidarity walk” was meant to show they are not intimidated by the killing of Cabingas even as they vow to continue doing their job.
“We are not cowed. We should not fear because we are the authority whose only mandate is to implement the city’s traffic laws,” Uy said at the sidelines of the protest rally.
Enforcer Sonny Vidal said they strongly condemned the killing saying the traffic enforcer was just doing his job.
“I hope his (Cabingas) killer will surrender,” Vidal said.
Wearing their standard yellow uniform and carrying placards, RTA enforcers began their march from Gaston Park to Velez Street before proceeding to the Cogon public market where they lighted candles at the spot where Cabingas was shot.
The hundreds of RTA personnel also expressed their anger at a radio broadcaster who made disparaging on-air comments against the RTA and Cabingas following the shooting incident.
The radio anchor allegedly said Cabingas deserved to be killed.
Uy said he plans to secure transcripts of the controversial statements which may be used in the filing of a possible complaint against the broadcaster.
City Police Director Ronnie Francis Cariaga said he has deployed policemen in the Cogon area to assist traffic enforcers assigned there.
He also said Cabingas’ suspected killer has links to a market vendor whom Cabingas had in conflict with while enforcing traffic laws.
Cariaga, who chairs the task force created by Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno to arrest Cabingas’ killer, said the investigation has revealed that the suspect has previous murder cases outside the city.
“Na-reveal during sa investigation nga ang suspect naay nahimo sa unang panahon pero dili sa CDO (It was revealed during the investigation that the suspect has previous cases but not in Cagayan de Oro),” he said.
Cariaga will name the suspect, who was identified three days ago, once the formal complaint is filed before the City Prosecutors Office.
He said the filing of murder charges will push through even if the suspect remains at large in the aim to secure an arrest warrant.
“Pagma-file na ang kaso mahulog nga solve na pero ang ato gyud gusto nga madakpan ang suspect ug ma-convict (Once the case is filed, it will be labeled as solved but what we really want is for the suspect to be captured and convicted),” Cariaga said.
Cariaga said the three witnesses pinpoint the lone suspect, however, the fiscal may add more respondents of the case.
“Sa kaso, isa ra ka suspect katong nagpatay pero posible madugangan depende sa piskal (There is only one suspect on the case but it is possible that respondents will be added depending on the fiscal),” he added.
The task force chief posed the possibilities that the suspect could be hiding within the city or nearby.
Cariaga urged Cogon market vendors who have knowledge of the incident and the suspect's whereabouts to help in the investigation to get justice for Cabingas.
“Hangyo nato sa Cogon area labi na sa mga Maranao vendors nga motabang sa ato, kabalo ta nga ang uban hesitant kay basin naay kahadlok pero ang atong gusto makab-ot is hustisya (We are asking the Cogon market vendors especially Maranao vendors to help, we know that some might be hesitant due to fear but what we want to achieve is justice),” Cariaga said.