TWO taxi drivers were separately held up in Mandaue City yesterday, but while one was shot dead inside his cab, the other’s life was spared.
Police are still checking if the robberies, which occurred about 15 kilometers apart in Barangays Opao and Tingub, are related. They arrested one suspect at 11 a.m.
Residents of Tingub found driver Modesto Heligao, 38, of Pulpogan, Consolacion, lifeless inside his Catz Taxi unit at 2:30 a.m. He had a gunshot wound in the head.
Police have no suspects yet, and investigators at the PNP Crime Laboratory are trying to lift prints from the taxi.
Heligao is the second taxi driver victimized in Mandaue City this month alone and the third since May this year.
Just two hours before Heligao was found, another taxi driver was robbed in Barangay Opao.
The police station’s chief, Senior Insp. Alfredo Ortiz Jr., and his men arrested the suspect, Jorem Mendoza, 19, in Sitio Kalipayan of the same barangay at 11 a.m. yesterday.
MJ Taxi driver Felix Vergara identified him as the one who took his P785 earnings and a cellular phone.
The spate of attacks on taxi drivers in Mandaue began last May 24, when Eliazar Parilla was found dead inside his cab. Antonio Descartin was shot dead last July 8, also inside his cab.
Before Heligao’s death, another driver for the Catz Taxi company, Alberto Resus, was stabbed dead. That attack last July 18 took place not in Mandaue, but in Barangay Kinasang-an, Pardo.
So far, no arrests have been made, except in Vergara’s case yesterday.
Insp. Ramil Morpos of the Investigation and Detective Management Bureau (IDMB) said apart from the arrested suspect in Barangay Opao, they are monitoring another possible suspect in the killing of Descartin.
He said they will also inquire with Catz Taxi management, since this is the second time they have lost a cab driver, yet in both cases, the earnings and valuables remained untouched.
Heligao, a widower, was found lying in a pool of blood inside his Catz taxi unit, his P1,760 earnings still in his pocket.
Resus still had his cell phone and P760 earnings in his pocket when lawmen discovered his body.
Morpos said a resident heard a car horn and saw Heligao’s taxi suddenly stop in front of a street lamp.
Yesterday’s other victim, Vergara, lived to tell his story.
He told the police how Mendoza allegedly flagged him down on V. Rama Ave. in Cebu City and asked that he be brought to Barangay Opao in Mandaue. Once they reached G. Ouano St., the suspect declared a hold-up and poked a knife against the victim.
After taking his earnings and cell phone, the suspect disembarked and disappeared in the darkness. Vergara sought Ortiz’s help and the official immediately pursued the suspect.
Police arrested the suspect inside his house in an interior portion of the barangay and detained him in the Opao Police Station. (OCP)