Trader’s family ‘saw’ gunman before hit

HE looks familiar to the victim's family.

The man who allegedly shot and killed businessman Jaime Villaceran on Colon St. last Tuesday had been tailing them wherever they went days before the ambush.

"When we showed them the suspect's photo, they remembered something," Supt. Romeo Santander, chief of the Cebu City Intelligence Branch (CIB), said.

At least two witnesses are helping the police identify the suspect.

The family said they had also seen the man looking at them while the daughters of the 36-year-old businessman were dropped off in their school, located a few meters away from the crime scene.

Villaceran was shot dead inside his vehicle, which stopped at the intersection of Colon St. and Osmeña Blvd., past 7 a.m. last July 14.

A hot pursuit is being conducted against the suspect.

Prior arrest

Based on police records, the man had been arrested for complaints of murder and illegal drugs before. These cases were later dismissed when the complainants decided not to pursue filing charges, Santander said.

A previously taken mugshot photo of him had also been identified by Villaceran's neighbors in Barangay Lorega, Cebu City.

Santander said, though, that it was not clear enough if the man was the one who shot and killed the businessman that morning because the gunman wore a helmet.

“Our heaviest proof against him is that he was seen tailing the victim prior to the ambush,” he said.

He said they have already recovered the victim's phone from the family. It will be checked to trace the possible motive of the killing.

Watch list

While he owned a pork and chicharon distribution business, Villaceran was also in the police watch list of people allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

The suspect in Villaceran’s shooting is allegedly a member of an illegal drug syndicate, a competitor of Villaceran in the business, Santander said.

Santander, however, refused to name the suspect while they are still gathering more evidences that could strengthen the man's link to the crime.

Although Villaceran's wife and children denied their former breadwinner's involvement to the illegal drug trade, other relatives told a different story to the authorities.

Santander quoted those relatives as saying, "Di man gud na siya patuo ba (He won't heed our advice)."

Santander also refused to elaborate on whether Villaceran is a drug pusher or a drug lord, saying the victim was only in their watch list and not the target list.

If a person is included in the watch list, it means his involvement has not yet been anchored with enough evidence.

Only when a person is confirmed to be a drug personality can he become a police target, Santander said.

They received a report that a raid was conducted against Villaceran before but it did not turn out to be successful.

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