Cop kills ‘hitman’ in shootout

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


A SUSPECTED hitman, who was allegedly protecting a big-time drug pusher, was killed in a shootout with police during a buy-bust in Barangay Canhabagat, Medellin, Cebu Sunday afternoon.

The operation conducted at 4:30 p.m. also resulted in the arrest of William Mercader, who was number one in the town’s list of drug personalities.

Five minors were also taken by police after they were suspected of being involved in the drug trade.

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Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador said Joven Senining was hit in the chest after he attempted to shoot a police operative.

He said the operation stemmed from complaints of residents, who said the group of Senining had been causing trouble in the area.

“They poked guns at civilians. They even wore army uniforms,” Comendador said during the press briefing.

To solve the problem, police conducted a buy-bust, with the poseur buyer buying a sachet of shabu worth P1,000 from Mercader.

While the buyer was negotiating with Mercader, a police team led by SPO1 Reynaldo Solante of Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) waited at the sugarcane field on board an old pick-up to avoid attention.

When the police moved in for the arrest, Senining’s group opened fire at the police.

“Nagkagubot dayon. Nanagan ang mga tawo (A commotion followed. People were running away from the scene),” Solante said.

Other group members identified as “Tofer”, “Baki” and “Sonny Boy” eluded arrest.

Police went inside a house in Sitio Navarro and caught Mercader inside one of the rooms.

When Solante checked another room, he found Senining armed with a KG-9 and .45 pistols.

Solante shot Senining in the chest.

Senining was brought to Verallo District Hospital in Bogo City but died on the way there.

Police confiscated 82 small sachets, two medium sachets and a large sachet of shabu from Mercader’s house. The items had a street value of P65,500.

Police also recovered drug-sniffing paraphernalia, digital weighing scale, KG-9 pistol, two .45 pistols, .22 magnum revolver and bullets.

The seized items were brought to Regional Crime Laboratory 7 for analysis.

The five teenagers were taken to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7, said Insp. Catalina Diotay of CPPO’s Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD).

Comendador said he was happy about the arrest of Mercader, who is considered a level-one drug pusher and could dispose at least a kilo of shabu per week.

“We hope the drug trade in there will already stop,” he said.

In a separate interview, Mercader said he was also happy of his arrest since he had been controlled by Senining’s group.

He said he hired the group’s service through Tofer to protect him from a rival drug pusher. He paid them P13,000 a week and gave them allowance of P1,200 a day.

But for the last six months, Mercader said, the group turned against him and threatened him and his family.

He said one of his nieces was raped by Senining last Friday.

“When I have sex with my wife, they watch us. We just cry,” Mercader said.

He said the group allegedly was directed by Joel Sumabong, the alleged leader of the robbery of Land Bank of the Philippines in Bogo City last August 2005.

Mercader is detained in Consolacion Police Station and will face charges.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 19, 2013.

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