THREE days after their cases were dismissed through the Supreme Court's Enhanced Justice on Wheels program, three siblings were killed in a drug bust inside the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) compound in Barangay Guizo, Mandaue City, before dawn Monday, October 2.
John Vincent Umpad, 26, allegedly tried to shoot the police officers when he sensed that he was transacting with a police decoy.
His brothers, Ruben, 25, and Jerome, 28, were also killed.
Their other brother Rustom, 23, was arrested and detained in the Mandaue Police Station (MPS) 3 holding cell.
John Vincent, Ruben and Jerome were among almost 100 detainees from the city jail who availed themselves of the SC's EJOW when it visited the Hall of Justice last Thursday.
Their murder and direct assault cases were dismissed after they were behind bars for eight years.
The buy-bust, which was led by Chief Insp. Michelangelo Beltran, took place at 1:05 a.m.
Beltran said their informant called to inform them that John Vincent continued his illegal drugs activities.
"We validated the information for two days. We were able to confirm it so we immediately set up a buy-bust," Beltran said.
He said they coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
During the operation, Beltran said John Vincent entered their temporary shelter at the CICC and told his brothers that there were police around.
"Jerome and Ruben immediately pulled out their guns and tried to shoot at the operatives. Jerome was actually able to fire his gun," Beltran said in Cebuano.
He said the operatives shot back to protect themselves.
The Umpad brothers were brought to the Mandaue City Hospital, but were declared dead.
Rustom would not say anything when interviewed.
Authorities seized a .45 pistol, a .357 revolver and .25 revolver with live ammunition from the three dead siblings.
They also recovered the buy-bust money and seized five sachets of illegal drugs from the Umpads.
In a separate interview, the Umpads' grandmother Conchita, who lives in an adjacent house where her grandsons were killed, said John Vincent, Ruben and Jerome arrived last Friday night and celebrated their release from jail.
She said they were scheduled to leave for Manila.
"They were just sleeping in their house when they were killed," Conchita said in Cebuano.
Police Regional Office 7 Director Jose Mario Espino said he welcomes an investigation with regards to the operation.
"Every police operation can be a subject of investigation by other agencies," he said.
In a separate interview, Mayor Luigi Quisumbing said the police already looked into it the matter.
He said that despite the MCPO's successes in the fight against illegal drugs in the past few months, drug personalities are still able to bring drugs to the city from neighboring towns and cities.
"We hope that maabot sa punto (a time will come) that there will be no more illegal drugs in Mandaue," the mayor added.
Last Sept. 22, a drug suspect was also shot dead inside the CICC. The buy-bust was also conducted by MPS 3.