Cop killed in Bohol drug bust, 3 others injured-A A +A
Friday, August 22, 2014
CEBU CITY (Updated) -- A police party, while verifying a pot session, was attacked by a lone suspect in Tagbilaran City, Bohol Friday morning. One intelligence operative died and three others were wounded.
This was the first setback for the police after arresting more than 300 people and confiscating millions of pesos worth of shabu in Central Visayas since July in their fight against the illegal drug trade, a high-ranking official said.
Chief Inspector George Vale, officer-in-charge of Tagbilaran City Police Station, identified the officer who died as PO1 Michael June Ejoc. He had a gunshot wound in the head.
Ejoc, who graduated with Batch Exodus in 2011, died at 12:48 p.m. in a provincial hospital, less than four hours after the police operation.
PO3 Judito Jasmin, PO1 Carlito Gamalo and PO1 Reynan Tagotongan, who were with Ejoc during the search in Barangay Poblacion I, also suffered injuries.
Jasmin, the team leader, was shot in the neck; Gamalo got hit in the eyebrow; and Tagotongan sustained a gunshot wound in the head. They belong to the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO).
The PIB team, composed of six persons, went to the area after receiving a report of an ongoing pot session inside the house of Belinda Tesorero in Sitio Ubos at 9:30 a.m., Vale said.
They wore civilian clothes but no bulletproof vests.
After they asked Tesorero to open the door, a drug suspect identified as Artemio “Junjun” Tari Jr. who was inside the house and armed with a .45 pistol suddenly fired.
Tari took the 9mm pistol Ejoc owned, when the policeman fell after getting in the head.
Tari then fired on the other operatives with two firearms before leaving the area on a motorcycle.
Vale said that Tari is a known drug personality in Tagbilaran and belonged to the police watch list.
The suspect is classified as a level three drug pusher who can dispose of half a kilo of shabu in his operations.
“Kadaghan na ni siya nadakpan. Niingon kuno ni nga mosukol siya ug dili na magpadakop ug buhi (He has been arrested several times before, but he has reportedly said he would rather die than get caught),” the police chief told Sun.Star Cebu.
Tesorero, who is allegedly Tari’s cohort, was taken by police. Recovered inside her house were packs of shabu and drug-sniffing paraphernalia.
At the crime scene, several empty shells and slugs from a .45 pistol and 9mm pistol were recovered by authorities.
The injured policemen were rushed to the hospital, but Ejoc died despite several attempts to revive him.
The three other policemen were transferred to two private hospitals.
As of 6 p.m., Vale said that Tagotongan was still in a delicate state and needed an operation. Jasmin and Gamalo, on the other hand, were already in stable condition.
“Nagrelax ra daw sila ato kay abi nila ug mga babaye ra sa sulod (They reportedly let their guard down because they thought only women were inside),” he said after interviewing the team about the incident.
Vale said they are interrogating Tesorero and trying to locate Tari, who came from Barangay San Isidro, Tagbilaran City.
Superintendent Pablo Labra II, acting chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas' intelligence division, said this is a setback in their string of successful anti-drug operations.
“Posible makaapekto ni sa atong mga operatives sa ilang aggressiveness. Ato sila ingon pirmi nga dili gyud mag relax bisan pa ug gamay na o dako nga operation (It might affect their aggressiveness. They have been repeatedly told not to relax, no matter how small or large the operation is),” he said.
From July to August 15, the PRO-Central Visayas has arrested 313 people and seized some P25 million worth of shabu and 65 firearms in their operations.
This was revealed by Senior Superintendent Conrado Capa, deputy regional director for operations of PRO-Central Visayas, last Monday when asked by reporters for a tally of all their operations.
The drug problem in Bohol has been underscored since June, when a town police chief died in an ambush while six people, including an alleged drug lord, were killed in a gunfight.
Last week, one of Bohol’s top drug personalities died in a shootout with police while nine other suspects were arrested in Ubay town. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2014.