TWO groups who are in the business of killing persons for a fee are currently the focus of tracker teams created by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.

Based on reports, PRO 7 Director Lani-o Nerez said the going rate for an ambush is P15,000 per subject.

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But as other sectors began to worry about the rash of killings in Cebu, Nerez announced yesterday they had significant developments in the major cases that happened the past weeks.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia called for a meeting yesterday with the police, other law enforcement agencies and the Regional State Prosecutors.

She said there’s a need to exchange notes so they can look for ways where they could work together.

She said they will be creating a Provincial Task Force against the proliferation of loose firearms, which authorities have considered as the bottom line in the spate of killings.

She said they have to look into the inventory of guns, especially that Cebu has manufacturing plants.

The task force, she said, can also send out a clear signal to the public about the campaign against loose firearms.

They will meet again next Tuesday.

Those who attended the meeting were Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Adrian Alvarino, Nerez, Cebu City Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr., National Bureau of Investigation 7 Director Medardo De Lemos, Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane, Mandaue City Police Office Director Noel Gillamac, Cebu Provincial Police Office Acting Director Erson Digal, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 Director Ramon Rafael and Lapu-Lapu City Police Director Mariano Natuel.

For the business community who earlier stated its apprehension, the governor pointed out the swift resolution of most of the cases.

Nerez, in a separate interview, said the killing of the Department of Public Works and Highways engineer and the killing in Punta Princesa have been solved with the arrests of those allegedly responsible.

Cases will soon be filed against those who killed former Compostela mayor Joselito Reynes, those who attacked members of the City of Bogo Anti-Criminal Task Force (Cbactaf), and the assassin who shot a public school teacher in Minglanilla.

He declined to identify the persons involved, citing PNP rules that prohibit them from naming suspects until cases have been filed before the prosecutor’s office.

Bases

As for the hit on businesswoman Debbie Yu and her driver, he is optimistic the case will be solved soon.

For now, Nerez said tracker teams have been tasked to go after members of two gun-for-hire groups operating in Cebu.

The two groups were identified as those based in Carcar City and Argao and the other from Pasil, Ermita and Lapu-Lapu City.

He explained that they are concentrating on identifying all the members of the two groups.

Nerez said each team has an assigned subject from the group whom they have to account for.

They will also update their records to find out if there are new members who have joined both groups.

However, Nerez assured the spate of killings were not perpetrated by gun-for-hire groups alone.

Timing

He said if the public is informed of the motives for these attacks, they will realize that the killings are not indiscriminate and will not affect the economy.

“It is just unfortunate that these happened, ug nagkataon nga nagdungan,” he said.

He cited that in the case of Reynes, persons loyal to someone were behind it. While he did not elaborate, he hinted that the motive for Reynes’s death was gearing towards politics.

In the case of a schoolteacher in Minglanilla, he also said those responsible were known as loyal to someone while in the case of the Cbactaf, a gang who had rivalries with them is being eyed as probablyresponsible for the attack.

The shootings of DPWH engineer Ciriaco Salazar and Rufino Deresas were pinned on those who held personal grudges against them.

Nerez said that based on their analysis, the killings of Nicolas and Manuel Ting and the attack on Debbie Yu and her driver are those perpetrated by guns-for-hire, although the attacks on the Ting brothers were reportedly done by different groups.

Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City Chapter will pass a resolution to condemn the spate of ambushes in the city and province of Cebu.

“The best solution to this problem is prevention. The intelligence network and information gathering has to be bolstered and it requires the cooperation of the police, local government units and barangays to detect potential crimes before it happens,” said lawyer Michael Yu, IBP Cebu City chapter president.

“It may not have an immediate backlash to business sectors and investors but it is alarming and we have to act fast to stop it but the local community is already affected by it,” Yu said.