THE last thing businessman Jaime Blas Villaceran did past 7 a.m. yesterday was typical of many fathers: he dropped off his two daughters in school.
A few minutes later, the girls, both high school students, lost their father after two men riding a motorcycle shot him at the intersection of Colon St. and Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City.
Villaceran, 36, was about to stop his Toyota Hi-Ace Grandia (AAE-8439) for a red light when the two men drew near him and peppered the van with bullets.
The van hit the rear of a jeepney Emerson Nacilla was driving, which sent the frightened passengers scampering in different directions.
“Kalit ra man kaayo to (It was so sudden),” said Nacilla.
Mayor Michael Rama yesterday ordered the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to conduct a no-nonsense investigation on the ambush and to explain why there was no police officer in the area.
“How did it happen? I would like to make a very clear position sa ilaha (to the police). Look for the culprit. Di man na mahimong ingnon drug involvement ra (They can’t just say drugs were involved). It’s not an excuse. There is a crime. Look for the culprit,” he said.
In his regular news conference, Rama said he also wants to meet with the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council to check on their preparations for peace and order for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Cebu from August to October.
He said there is a need to make sure crimes will not be committed in the city.
Police believe the hitmen who went after Villaceran were seasoned because they waited for his daughters to disembark from the van.
“Naluoy tingali ang mga suspek sa mga bata nga walay labot (Perhaps they felt sorry for the girls),” said Homicide Section Chief Elisandro Quijano.
Villaceran succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds in different parts of his body. He had tattoos of the names of his loved ones on his left upper arm, and was shirtless when investigators found him.
SPO4 Alex Dacua, homicide investigator, saw a wound in Villaceran’s left arm that he believes was the fatal shot. It probably pierced through his body, possibly even his heart, Dacua said.
The victim’s death may have been related to his alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade, according to Supt. Romeo Santander, chief of the Cebu City Police Office Intelligence Branch.
Santander, however, refused to disclose the reach of Villaceran’s alleged operations, only that lived in Barangay Lorega-San Miguel, Cebu City.
“He is in our watch list on illegal drugs. I cannot divulge what his level is with due respect to his grieving family,” he said.
The official said that Villaceran was on their list for a long time but had never been arrested. The police did not receive information that Villaceran reported any threats on his life.
Police will check if there are closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that captured the incident, which caused heavy traffic in the area.
A separate investigation will also be conducted on the absence of police officers who were supposed to patrol the area.
Quijano said they recovered six empty shells and two deformed slugs in the crime scene.
Two .380 pistols, a .25 Derringer revolver, a .45 pistol, three magazines, 19 bullets, notebooks, a cell phone, and P227,000 in cash were found inside the victim’s vehicle.
Dacua said the notebooks contained names.
Villaceran also reportedly sold pork and chicharron and ran a lending firm.
A medical team rushed Villaceran to Velez Hospital on F. Ramos St., where the attending doctor declared him dead.
Santander said the guns, empty shells and slugs were sent to the Regional Crime Laboratory for examination.
An autopsy was also ordered.
A relative, Rey Navarette, told reporters he had no idea if Villaceran had any enemies or who they were.