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Thursday, January 24, 2019

To unmask killers, cops turn to plate

THE license plate of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) may unmask the identities of the two killers and the mastermind behind the murders of a police officer and his cousin in a subdivision in Barangay Estaca, Compostela last Saturday morning.

Insp. Romeo Caacoy Jr., the town police chief, said there were neighbors who saw the gunmen approach a vehicle before they killed PO3 Antonio Iboña and Cesar Belacho.

One of them remembered the plate number and gave it to the investigators. The investigators will check the owner of the vehicle at the Land Transportation Office today.

“It is possible the mastermind was inside the vehicle,” said Caacoy in Cebuano.

He said the perpetrators, who escaped the crime scene on a motorcycle, may have transferred to the vehicle.

House

The other information the police got was that the perpetrators stayed in an abandoned house, which is just a stone’s throw away from the victims’ residence.

Caacoy said Iboña’s work before as an intelligence operative at the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LLCPO) may have something to do with the victim’s death.

“We will look into his background. There are persons who are possibly mad at him after arresting them,” he said in Cebuano.

He said there is a possibility that several drug dealers are going after the police officer after sending them to prison.

The other information the investigators gathered was that Belacho had charged an enemy in court and Iboña helped him pursue the case.

Investigation

Caacoy did not elaborate when pressed for more details, saying it might preempt their investigation. He said he will coordinate with the LLCPO today to check on the status of Iboña.

Investigators will find other residents who remembered the culprits’ faces, so they can proceed to make sketches.

Relatives

Caacoy sent his personnel yesterday to interview the victims’ relatives.

The police are looking for other closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras for more evidence. They already had a footage from the victims’ neighbor’s CCTV and it showed the perpetrators fleeing on a motorcycle, which had no license plate.

The culprits’ faces, however, were not caught by the video because they wore hooded jacket. One of the witnesses told the police the gunmen had their faces covered with bonnets when they attacked the victims.

Belacho was shot first while he was feeding fighting cocks. He managed to run, but he was chased by one of the gunmen and he died 20 meters from the gate.

The other assassin barged inside the house and shot Iboña several times.

Seven empty shells from a .45 pistol, nine empty shells from a .40 pistol and four dud bullets were recovered from the scene.
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