Medellin police chief relieved, while Digal tags mayor as ‘principal suspect’

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Friday, December 31, 2010


CEBU’s provincial police chief relieved Medellin Police Chief Bonifacio Arriesgado yesterday for failing to report a municipal employee’s death to the police headquarters.

“Medellin is a small town,” Senior Supt. Erson Digal of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) said in Cebuano. “If there is any incident, the police would know about it right away.”

He also described Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez as a “principal suspect” in the death of Edelberto Abao, a municipal employee.

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The companions of Abao last Monday night, the time he was seen bleeding from his leg, are also suspects, Digal said.

The police are still gathering affidavits from witnesses.

Mayor Ramirez, in a GMA 7 interview Wednesday, denied reports circulating by text that he was the one who shot Abao. He said he treated the man like a member of his family.

Kristofer, Abao’s son, also said the family did not believe Ramirez was involved. He said his father had a heart attack.

Digal instructed investigators to get the death certificate from Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital in Bogo City to confirm how Abao died.

He said the family refused an autopsy.

Digal said his office is also considering the possibility of filing an obstruction of justice complaint against hospital staff members who reportedly refused to show the police the death certificate.

Ramirez declined Wednesday to undergo a paraffin test. Arriesgado said the mayor was sure he would test positive, because he test-fired a new gun at 5 p.m. last Dec. 27.

Mayor Ramirez also denied to Arriesgado that he shot Abao, a casual employee of the Medellin Municipal Government.

Arriesgado is now assigned at the Provincial Security Service Group (PSSG). Senior Insp. Danilo Delantar, former Pilar Police chief, will act as the temporary Medellin Police chief.

Arriesgado will face an administrative case, Digal said.

“Being a chief of police, he should inform the headquarters of any incident,” Diga said.

Abao had been designated leader of the group tasked to guard the town’s public market, informally known as the mayor’s squad.

According to initial reports, the mayor and other squad members saw Abao unconscious at their post near the market.

He was brought to the Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital in Bogo City, where he was declared dead.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 31, 2010.

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