Scrolling down, read about Superintendent Lito Patay's background and his assignment to premier cities such as Quezon City and Cebu; what the Cebuano-Bisaya word "patay" means as verb, adjective or noun, depending upon the accent or absence of accent; why solving the killings would fit his job at CIDG; and the potential clash of interests in going after the murder suspects
About two weeks after Superintendent Lito Patay assumed as police chief of Quezon City station six in July 2016, he was leading a different version of Operation Tokhang.
Targets of the Batasan police station were not only drug traffickers but police officers suspected of being involved in extortion, kidnapping and coddling drug pushers. They called the thrust against fellow cops internal cleansing, to rid the PNP of undesirables within the force.
QC's station six was considered "the deadliest" in the country with 108 recorded deaths in the drug war during Patay's one-year stint, according to a Pulitzer-prize winning report, during his one year stint.
A vovph news video of July 19 in the year President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office carried the heading "Patay kayo kay Supt. Patay," an apparent play with his name.
In Cebuano-Bisaya, "patay" means "dead," "kill," or "death," depending upon the word usage: as an adjective, verb or noun. The word "patay" changes shades of meaning, from unaccented or "malumay" to accented on the last syllable or "mabilis."
It's not known how many cops were put to jail or killed during Patay's stint in Quezon City. The police operation carried out by him and the group of Davao cops he took with him to QC must have been "a success."
His assignment to Cebu as regional director of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for Central Visayas is a big bump in his career, compared to his past stints in relatively uncomplicated places such as Enrique Villanueva town in Siquijor, his native town, and Davao del Norte. Patay, 44, is a graduate of Philippine National Police Academy class 1997.
He assumed office Wednesday, August 6, the same day another PDEA agent was ambushed and shot dead, this time in Perelos, Carcar City.
He told news reporters his job is to solve high-profile crimes and arrest criminals. What can be more high-profile now than the rash of killings, topped by the ambush-slay of two PDEA agents: Baby "Earl" Rallos near the Cebu Capitol last July 27 and Von Rian Tecson Wednesday (August 8) in Perrelos, Carcar City,
Taken collectively, the "serial" murders, which may or may not be waged by the same group, are a bane to a city that once was billed as a safe city.
In awkward situation
Patay is in an awkward situation though. He is based in Cebu City where Mayor Tomas Osmeña thinks the police could be, or might be, the ones out to kill his political leader, Jessielou Cadungog, a barangay councilor and former barangay captain. After his word war with the city police chief, the mayor himself and Councilor Dave Tumulak felt they might be included "kill" targets too.
Could Patay take the position against the police should he find that Osmeña's "ambush theory" on the killing of a cop was right?
CIDG, under his predecessor, now Cebu City police chief Rowina Garma, backed the police stand by charging Cadungog and his driver-bodyguard with murder while the NBI found evidence only for homicide and only against the driver, minus Cadungog.
With his background as an anti-drugs cop, plucked out from Davao to big-ticket cities such as Quezon City and Cebu City, Patay might find it tough to buck the unwritten policy of waging the "war" to the fullest, whatever the cost.
'Manhunt' for a woman
An early news report of the killing of Von Rian Tecson, the PDEA agent ambushed August 8 by four assailants, riding in tandem on motorcycles, in Perrelos, Carcar City, said the police were on a "manhunt" for the group, which, the news said, included a woman.
That would be a manhunt for three men and one woman. "Manhunt" though is gender-neutral: it is hunt for a fugitive or a crime suspect, of whatever sex.
Tell us about it.