Slain tanod tagged in cop’s shooting-A A +A
Saturday, July 14, 2012
FIVE men were believed to be responsible for the shooting of a policeman in Talisay City last Thursday afternoon.
Hours after PO3 Arnold Damasco was shot, a barangay tanod was shot dead while his companion was critically injured in Barangay Tabunok.
In a press conference yesterday, Talisay City Police Chief Eddie Recamara told reporters the two victims were involved in Damasco’s shooting.
He identified the fatality as Abundio Labitad, a 46-year-old tanod assigned in Barangay Lawaan 3. Rommel Camasura of Barangay Upper Mohon is fighting for his life in the hospital.
The two men were reportedly hanging out near the Ruiz Compound in Barangay Tabunok around 6:30 p.m. last Thursday when four men on board two motorcycles approached them.
The four men, armed with .45 pistols, suddenly fired at them, hitting Labitad several times in the face.
They then fled the scene.
Labitad was rushed to the Talisay City District Hospital, but he was declared dead on arrival. Camasura was transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in the Cebu City.
Recamara said Labitad and Camasura were hired guns. Based on witnesses’ accounts, the two men were on board a separate motorcycle, serving as backup for the gunmen that shot Damasco.
As they fled from the scene, Labitad and Camasura may have fled towards Barangay Tabunok to hide, Recamara said.
As to their murder, Recamara said he believes “government officers” may have been involved. However, he refused to elaborate.
Labitad’s relatives denied he was a gun-for-hire.
His wife Vita told reporters yesterday her husband was quiet and reserved and was never violent.
However, she admitted he never told her about his outside dealings.
Recamara said they are looking for the remaining three suspects in Damasco’s shooting.
He said they’re looking into the possibility that his shooting was related to the illegal drugs trade in the city, referring to their latest operation in Barangay Tanke last month.
Damasco, who is a warrant server for the city police station, reportedly provided the information that led to the arrest of suspected level 2 drug pusher Albert “Apar” Salem last June.
Recamara said after Salem’s arrest, Damasco received numerous death threats.
Salem is currently detained in the Talisay City Jail in Barangay Maghaway.
Damasco is recuperating in a hospital in Cebu City.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 14, 2012.