THE street near Calamba Cemetery turned black as an estimated 2,500 mourners attended the funeral of Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz yesterday.
Diaz’s family and friends wore black shirts imprinted with his face and the words “Jeffrey ‘Jaguar’ Diaz. We will miss you” in front and “We love you” at the back.
Diaz, who had a reputation for being a Robin Hood of sorts in Barangay Duljo-Fatima, Cebu City, was killed with his bodyguard in a shootout with the police last June 17.
The mourners were tight-lipped and most refused to grant an interview. But Virgilio Zamora, 49, said he voluntarily went to the burial, contrary to rumors that each person who went received P800.
“Natabangan gud ko niya pagkasakit sa akong amahan ug anak, resita ray pangayuon tagaan dayon kog cash (He helped me when my father and son got sick; he only asked for the prescription and immediately gave me cash),” Zamora told reporters.
However, another resident from Duljo-Fatima told Sun.Star Superbalita that they were given money to join the funeral procession.
“Gipang lista mi didto, gihatagan ko ug P800, ambot lang katong uban kay kami naa man. Ayaw’g saba ako nag-ingon ha (They listed us and gave me P800. I don’t know about the others but we received cash. Please don’t tell them I said so),” she said.
A child who covered his face with a shirt (in turn printed with Diaz’s photo) handed a Sun.Star Cebu journalist this note written on a paper plate: “To our friends over the media: A question coming from a taxpayer, How can the alleged killing of Jaguar be legitimate when in fact he has no case in court? And he stopped his illegal trade some one year ago? Are we covering something? Is it not the case of No. 6 (Mangyao) similar to his? And why the PNP Las Piñas not involved? These are the why’s.”
(Quirico “Jongjong” Mangyao Jr. presented himself to Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña last Sunday morning, in response to a project that encourages drug pushers to give up the illegal trade. Mangyao is allegedly No. 6 on the Cebu City police force’s list of drug personalities.)
Victor Yap, 52, who hails from Subangdaku, Mandaue City said that he and Diaz were once sacristans in the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, where the requiem took place.
“Buotan kaayo na sauna katong sacristan pa mi. Nakuyawan gani ko nganong na drug lord na (He was really a good person in the past when we were still sacristans. I was shocked and wondered why when I heard he had become a drug lord),” he said.
Yap added that when he knew that it was Diaz’s burial yesterday, he made time to attend the mass.
The nursery school inside the shrine suspended its classes but the teachers explained it was because of a meeting, and not in line with the burial.
At 1:15 p.m., Diaz’s casket, accompanied by a marching band, arrived at the church for the mass presided by two priests the family specifically requested for the funeral.
“Sa sulod sa pila ka tuig nga iya tang natabangan, nakahatag siya natog dakong kalipay (For many years, he helped us and gave us joy),” said the priest, who was emotional in his homily.
Diaz’s relatives and friends guarded the parish’s gate and kept the media from from entering. Barangay officials also helped secure Diaz’s burial.
After the mass, six pallbearers carried Diaz’s casket all the way to the Calamba cemetery.
A motorcycle convoy cleared the path while a drum and bugle corps played.
Diaz’s burial caused an hour-long traffic on the streets of V. Rama and N. Bacalso, even if the Cebu City Transportation Office sent five traffic enforcers to the area.
Senior Insp. Regino Maramag of Police Station 11 confirmed a crowd estimate of 2,500. (In an earlier interview, Duljo-Fatima Barangay Captain Elmer Abella said there were more than 25,000 residents in his area.)
Diaz’s mausoleum was located in the farthest corner of the cemetery and had walls, like the pathways of Barangay Duljo. Only the immediate family and relatives were allowed to enter.
White balloons printed with “WE LOVE YOU JAGUAR” were let loose.
In a separate interview, the chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said that authorities will conduct a dialogue with residents of Barangay Duljo Fatima, after emotions surrounding Diaz’s death have subsided.
Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr. said that the police will go to the place when they are sure they will be safe and are convinced the residents have become receptive to change.
“We have to remove the security threats, the barriers between the people there and the police,” said Comendador.
Police have said that during the shootout with Diaz, they recovered one M-16 rifle with a magazine and live ammunition, a .45 pistol, P1.2 million worth of shabu, P10,000 cash, jewelry and cell phones from the suspects.
Last June 9, Comendador led his personnel in conducting an anti-illegal drugs symposium in Banacon islet, Getafe, Bohol, where suspected drug lord Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria and two of his subordinates were killed in a shootout with police last May 28.
The event was attended by nearly 1,000 residents of the islet. With AYT of Sun.Star Superbalita