Police chief dared to solve wave of killings

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Saturday, June 28, 2014


“IF THEY can't capture crime suspects, perhaps they are the suspects.”

Following the spate of shooting incidents that plagued the city without perpetrators being captured, councilor Ramon Tabor has implied that Cagayan de Oro’s police force “might be the ones behind [the] series of crimes.”

Tabor, committee chairman on police, fire and public safety, challenged Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) director Senior Superintendent Graciano Mijares to do a better job and have the suspects of killings put behind bars, as he is considering the probability of police officers being primarily involved in the summary killings.

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"I dare city director [Mijares] to clean up his act. Killing happens daily these days yet suspects have remained unknown," Tabor told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Friday morning. "In just a pull of the trigger, life can end anytime and it is what's happening now."

In a span of two weeks, five killings have been documented in the city, while most gunmen of the four victims have remained unknown, according to reports culled from different police precincts.

Before that, police had reported bodies, mostly males and whose identities were still unknown, being found and dumped in secluded areas of the city.

Based on the findings of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco), almost all of the victims were either stabbed or shot on various parts of their bodies, with their mouths either covered by a cloth or taped, while some of them had tattoos.

Earlier, Mijares vowed to do his responsibility despite critics of his promotion and retention as a full-fledged director of Cocpo in November 2013.

“I’m here to serve the people of Cagayan de Oro whether in acting capacity or not, and that’s what matters,” Mijares said.

It can be recalled that Tabor was the one who defended Mijares from local political leaders who asked that he must do some cleaning up in the city’s law enforcement.

Councilor Roger Abaday also challenged Mijares before to get rid of illegal gambling activities and solve at least a case of more than a dozen of summary execution incidents.

It has been reported that Abaday would personally ask Mayor Oscar Moreno to replace Mijares if he fails to do his assignments.

Mijares, however, is still optimistic of Cocpo’s crime prevention and solution efforts.

“As we can see, our fight against all forms of illegal activities continues. Rest assured that we will work hard to solve these cases,” he said.

During Mijares' promotion last year, Tabor cited his accomplishments including the peace and order in the conduct of the May 2013 elections and the filing of multiple murder cases against Usman Hapids and his cohorts who were believed to be behind the July 26, 2013 bombing in one of the establishments at the Lim Ket Kai mall.

Meanwhile, Cocpo spokesperson Chief Inspector Lemuel Gonda said the series of killings are still under investigation to collect pieces of evidence that will lead to the arrest of the suspects.

“But we cannot do this alone without the participation of the family members of the victims and the general public,” he added.

Two men were shot dead last Thursday and Friday while unidentified suspects are still at large.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 29, 2014.

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