His last P100, her last goodbye

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014


THE last time Jessie Camero saw his younger sister Amy was last Friday in his home in Barangay Bulacao, Talisay City, when she asked him for P200. She wanted to go to Bohol.

Jessie recalled he was apprehensive that Amy was going on the trip alone. He was also annoyed that she had awakened him from his nap, around 4 p.m., and that he had only P100 in his pocket.

“Nasuko pa gani ko niya kay nganung galarga-larga siya ug Bohol nga wala man siya’y kwarta (I was annoyed that she would think of going to Bohol when she had no money),” Jessie told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

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Despite his apprehensions, Jessie gave his sister his last P100 so she could be on her way. It was the last time brother and sister spoke.

Two days later, Amy, 17, was one of six people, including a former police officer, who were killed in a shootout in Bien Unido town in Bohol.

‘Not Amy’

Jessie denied that his sister was involved in the illegal drug trade, as claimed by some officials.

Bohol Provincial Police chief Senior Supt. Dennis Agustin told reporters yesterday that Camero had served as a collector and bookkeeper for dismissed police officer Owen Rosales, who was allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade in the province.

Like Camero, Rosales was also killed during the shootout in Bien Unido.

“Dili na adik ang akong igsuon. Muinom na siya kung naay okasyon pero dili na siya mosuyop o manigarilyo (My sister was not an addict. She drank on occasion, but didn’t do drugs or smoke),” Jessie said.

He also recalled that a month before, his sister had visited Bohol with their neighbor, Jenny Labandero. Labandero reportedly brought his sister to Bohol to serve as a babysitter.

Jessie said he was surprised that after her visit to Bohol, his sister brought back a large sum of money and was able to buy some new cell phones for herself.

Home again

It was Labandero, he said, who told the family that Amy had been shot and killed.

In a separate interview, Sarah Labandero, Jenny’s mother, denied that her daughter was responsible for introducing Amy to a suspected drug syndicate in Bohol.

Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, Amy’s body finally reached home after a day spent on trips from Bohol to Talisay City.

Joseph Camero, Amy’s other older brother, brought his sister’s body from Bien Unido to Getafe, Bohol, then to Barangay Tanke in Talisay City by pumpboat.

A municipal councilor of Bien Unido facilitated the transportation of Amy’s body to Cebu. Otherwise, Joseph told reporters that his sister’s body would have been buried in an unmarked grave in Bien Unido.

Meanwhile, the alleged owner of a resthouse rented by the group of former police officer Rosales denied he was involved in the killing of a police chief.

Surrendered

Troy dela Torre surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 last Monday night, said NBI 7 Assistant Director Dominador Cimafranca.

“He wants to clear his name,” said Cimafranca. The NBI team picked up dela Torre from the bureau’s office in Tagbilaran City last Monday night.

Apart from Camero and former officer Rosales, Armando Quisto, 33; Glenn Sayson, 34; Junifer Bicada, 36; and Carlito Kiamko were killed during an alleged shootout with the police in Barangay Puerto San Pedro in Bien Unido last Sunday morning.

That happened after Rosales and company allegedly fought the police who conducted a follow-up operation on the ambush of Ubay Police Chief George Caña.

Rosales’s group had allegedly killed Caña in Barangay Balintawak, Talibon last Saturday night.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Central Visayas will conduct their own investigation on the shootout.

Officials of CHR 7 led by human rights lawyer Dante Jadman visited Amy’s wake around 3 p.m. yesterday. He told reporters the CHR will try to determine if there was an overkill on the part of the police officers.

Jadman urged Amy’s family to request for a second autopsy.

“It appears that Amy was unarmed and was caught in the crossfire,” Jadman said.

Threats

For his part, Bohol Provincial Police Office Director Senior Supt. Dennis Agustin confirmed he has been receiving several death threats before the operation last Saturday in Bien Unido.

“Marami na. Hindi ko na lang binabasa (There have been plenty. I no longer read them),” he told reporters at the PRO 7 yesterday.

He said that because of the shooting last Saturday, he declared a heightened alert in Bohol Province, which means that all police personnel are required to go on-duty and are not allowed to file for a leave of absence.

Agustin, who speaks Tagalog, said the threats he received through text messages were mostly in Bisaya.

“Hindi ko sila maiintindihan sa sinasabi nila (I don’t understand what they’re saying),” he added.

Senior Supt. Orlando Ualat has advised all police officials in Bohol to be careful and not to be complacent if they receive death threats.

Agustin said he has been careful in his every move and that his men are also closely guarding him.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 12, 2014.

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