4 men killed in Cebu shootout-A A +A
Thursday, March 21, 2013
CEBU CITY (Updated) -- Four alleged members of a gun-for-hire and illegal drug peddling group were killed in a shootout with policemen during simultaneous raids in Barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion early morning Thursday.
Two others were arrested during the raid.
Their alleged leader eluded arrest, but crime incidents in northern towns will wane now that the group is crippled, a police official said.
Six high-powered firearms, assorted ammunition, three hand grenades, an undetermined quantity of shabu (methamphetamine) and drug paraphernalia were seized when search warrants were served simultaneously in four houses in Sitio Gumamela past 5 a.m.
Superintendent Rodolfo Albotra, head of the Cebu Provincial Police Office’s (CPPO) Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB), identified the fatalities as Vicente Judaya, Ian Siacol, Jerson Resme and Rene Boy Tariao.
The joint operation conducted by PIB, the Regional Intelligence Division (RID), Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force (Raidsot) and the Consolacion Police Station stemmed from four search warrants issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Central Visayas Branch 56 Judge Teresita Abarquez-Galanida.
The subjects of the warrants were Judaya, Elvira Manlisi, Jerry Bugtay and Francisco Ariva, the alleged leader of the group.
When the police came, Judaya pulled out his firearm and attempted to shoot them. He tried to run away but the policemen caught up with him.
In Ariva’s house just 50 meters away, another team exchanged gunfire with the other suspects.
Siacol, Resma and Tariao were inside the house of Ariva and were hit. They were brought to Eversley Child Sanitarium in Mandaue City but died on the way there.
As police were listing down the confiscated items, Bugtay was seen running away and trying to hide in his sister’s house. He and Manlisi were also caught.
The operatives wore bullet-proof vests during the operation upon learning that they were dealing with armed men.
“No one among us was hurt but the shots were very near,” Albotra said.
He said Ariva’s group engaged in shootouts with the group of a Bebot Pepito as they quarreled over their “territories.”
Pepito eluded arrest during a raid last week but his aide died and seven of his alleged cohorts were arrested.
In an interview Thursday, CPPO Director Patrocinio Comendador said they have been going after Ariva’s group, especially now that it’s election season.
He said they could be used during the May 13 polls to disrupt electoral proceedings.
Pulpogan village chief Roger Linaboc said he was thankful of the police operation as he found the group to be “troublemakers.”
He said he was aware of the group’s illegal activity and reported them to the police.
“Kung sagbot sa katilingban atong hisgutan, mas maayo nga mahunong nani sila. Lipay na kaayo ang mga tawo diri kay wala na sila’y kahadlokan (It’s better that bad elements like them would no longer be able to continue their activities. The residents are happy and said they’re no longer afraid),” Linaboc said.
Nena Pejana, Ariva’s housemaid, said she was shocked when police stormed into her employer’s house.
She described Ariva to be a good person who was willing to help anyone.
Anabelle, Judaya’s wife, said she had told her husband to stop his trade but was ignored.
She said their daughter graduated from elementary yesterday, Thursday, without her father.
Anabelle said her husband repacked shabu inside their house while their children were asleep.
Interviewed by reporters, Bugtay denied his involvement in the group, but he said Ariva was a drug lord. He said he worked as a motorcycle-for-hire driver.
“Midagan ko pag-abot nila kay perte nakong hadluka kay daghan man gud sila (I ran when they arrived. I got so scared because there were many policemen),” he said.
Manlise, on the other hand, said she couldn’t go against Ariva, her live-in partner, because he would threaten to kill her.
Police Regional Office Central Visayas Director Marcelo Garbo Jr. will give awards to the different police teams for neutralizing the criminal group.
“This serves as a message to other groups that we are serious in stopping your illegal activities,” he said. (With Jinky R. Bargio of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2013.