‘Shooter’ in Cebu caught

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


FIVE men were collared by the authorities, including a suspected gun-for-hire who allegedly shot dead two police assets last week.

Their arrest followed Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s order to put an end to a streak of shooting attacks.

Senior Superintendent Melvin Ramon Buenafe, head of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), credited the swift action of his men for the arrest. He said it was vengeance that drove the recent attacks, but that the city remains safe.

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A gunshot that the police quickly investigated led to the arrest of Arnel “Budlat” Gomez, 34, during a brief chase in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City at 5:30 a.m. Monday.

His cohort, identified only as Opaw, eluded arrest. It was not clear who fired the gunshot.

Confiscated from Gomez’s possession were a high-powered KG9 machine pistol with 34 live ammunitions; a .45 pistol with 14 live ammunitions; two cameras; assorted drug paraphernalia; and a hand grenade.

He was tagged as the helmet-clad, motorcycle-riding assailant of Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) member Catalino Entoma Jr. and police asset Michael Moralde last February 16.

Two witnesses attested it was Gomez who pulled off the attack, City Intelligence Branch (CIB) Chief Romeo Santander said.

He revealed the suspect had been arrested last July 19, as the subject of an arrest warrant for murder, but the case was later dismissed. Gomez, he added, belonged to a watch list of suspected personalities.

Santander said the police will check the seized cameras to look if there are pictures of Gomez’s targets.

Gomez, in an interview, denied his participation in the crimes, adding the evidence recovered by the police was planted.

“Saksi ang Ginoo sa tanan. Mas makasasala pa na ang mga pulis (God is my witness. Those policemen are bigger offenders than I am),” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

Newly designated Carbon Police Station Chief Pablo Cabildo, for his part, said utmost security will be implemented in his area despite the lack of personnel.

His predecessor was relieved following the fatal attack on Entoma last February 16 in Carbon Market.

One of Cabildo’s plans to curb crime is intensifying pro-active measures such as better police visibility.

He urged the public to be watchful of belongings like jewelry and gadgets in wandering around the market, as these may attract criminal elements.

Tracked down

Police stormed the supposed safehouse of Rhene “Instik” Baclaan, 22, last Thursday dawn in San Fernando, Cebu.

Baclaan, a self-confessed Bloods gang affiliate, was allegedly responsible for shooting seven rival fraternity Crips members.

His latest offense was allegedly last week, when a 14-year-old boy was killed on V. Rama Ave. while other two teens were also injured.

A bullet fragment is still lodged in Baclaan’s nape after he was shot during a frat war two years ago. He has allegedly become the group’s hit man.

But his mother Anita, 59, told Sun.Star Cebu her son has changed his ways and only went into hiding after being hunted in Barangay Quiot where they lived.

“Ang nakapait sad kay kung naa’y mahitabo sa amoa siya dayon ang pasanginlan (Whenever something bad happens in our community, he always gets blamed),” she said.

Chase

In a separate incident, two men who attempted to rob and pistol-whipped foreigners fell into police hands during a chase and shootout from Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City to Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City last Sunday.

They were identified sa Fer Adlaon, 29, and Joseph Flores, 21.

The suspects allegedly waylaid Megome Sano, 28, and Shong Weny, 28, while walking along S. Cabahug St. and held them up at gunpoint. However, they left empty-handed after the foreigners resisted.

Police immediately pursued and caught up with the suspects.

Adlaon, a merchandiser in a downtown shopping mall, turned a year older Monday. His family believed the arrest was a case of mistaken identity.

“He has never been involved in any crimes. No previous record at all,” said Gina, 22, his pregnant wife.

On the other hand, operatives of City Anti-illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (Caidsot) arrested a suspected level three drug pusher during a buy-bust operation in Barangay Pulangbato last Saturday morning.

Recovered from 35-year-old Elder Legaspi’s possession was a medium pack of shabu.

A poseur-buyer negotiated with Legaspi and bought P300 worth of the illegal drugs.

Incentive

With the arrests, Rama said Monday he is willing to give additional motorcycles and vehicles to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

This, aside from increasing the policemen’s monthly allowances. Rama had already announced that he will be increasing by P1,000 or P2,000 the police personnel’s P2,000 allowance from the City Government.

“If they need it (motorcycles and vehicles) to augment their capability, I will not hesitate in putting that in the next supplemental budget,” the mayor said.

City Hall gave 44 motorcycles to the CCPO last year, saying it would help reduce crimes and improve the city’s peace and order situation.

Along with his pronouncements, Rama challenged the police: “In return, they should give their best.”

In an interview Monday, Rama said he is “happy” with the arrest of the suspects.

“That’s good, and they should continue to prove themselves,” he added, referring to the police.

Rama assured that the City Government will continue to support the police with their needs. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 21, 2012.

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