A 56-YEAR-OLD businessman in Mandaue City was killed by an unknown gunman in front of his establishment on Hernan Cortes St. yesterday morning.
Johnson Chiaoco, 56, a Filipino-Chinese and a paint shop owner, succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head, said Chief Insp. Zosimo Jabas of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) Station 4.
Chiaco was brought to Chong Hua Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
Police are looking into personal grudge or Chiaoco’s business dealings as possible motives behind the crime.
“We saw a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage that captured the crime but we need to look for more because the video was not clear and only shows one angle. We will conduct investigation or possible hot pursuit operation,” Jabas said.
Based on the initial information gathered by the police, Chiaoco filed a blotter report last June after receiving a threat.
“We are now looking into his background and the threat he received. We will check what kind of threat it was since we haven’t talked with anyone directly about the matter. We will do a follow-up investigation,” Jabas said.
MCPO Director Julian Entoma said they have difficulty identifying the culprit since he was wearing a full-face helmet.
He believes the perpetrator was a professional hired killer.
From June to early September this year, three businessmen were already killed by unknown gunmen in different shooting incidents in Cebu.
Aside from Chiaoco, Japanese national Junko Hamada, 71, president of Beams Philippines Export Corp. in Talisay City was shot dead by men riding in tandem on N. Bacalso Ave., Cebu City last Aug. 24.
On June 26, Gary Ong Go, 57, a Filipino-Chinese trader, succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds. He was killed in Cordova.
Although they said they still feel safe in Cebu, business owners here expressed grave concern over the impact of the killings on business.
“Part of my worry is that, what if an ambush happens near my business premises? I am afraid that it will put us in a bad light in front of the customers and business investors. Also, it is unlucky to have a dead person near your business. It is bad for business,” said Steven Yu, vice president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
But Yu believes the police are already on top of the matter, knowing that there is strong clamor to address the killings.
According to Yu, he has not heard of any business owner hiring more bodyguards but many have beefed up their security by putting up physical barriers to protect their customers and employees against stray bullets.
They also increased screening of guests carrying weapons, explosive devices or bladed items who are entering business establishments.
Retailer Robert Go said he is already scared but he has not reached the point of hiring a bodyguard for security yet.
Mactan Rock Industries Inc. chairman Antonio Tompar said he isn’t alarmed with the killings as the business he is into has no issues.
Cebu, he said, is still the best place to live in.
Real estate broker Anthony Leuterio, for his part, said there is nothing to be
afraid of and that Cebu remains to be a safe place amid the killings. (USJ-R
intern Mark Joven Igot, JSG, KOC)