A DRUG syndicate may be behind the killing of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operative Jesus “Jessie” Tabanao, a police officer revealed.

Supt. Reycel Carmelo Dayon, head of the Special Investigation Task Group Tabanao, said they have not yet identified the gunman but he confirmed that Tabanao’s death was probably drug-related.

He said the drug syndicate that may be behind Tabanao’s killing is not based in Cebu.

Text messages

Dayon said they were able to retrieve some text messages from Tabanao’s cellular phone, which might help them in their investigation. However, he said they still could not divulge the content of the text messages as this may hamper their investigation.

“We will still have to backtrack all his text messages in his cellular phone at least six months before the incident so that we may be able to understand the messages that were left on his phone the night he died,” Dayon said.

He said that the night before Tabanao was shot dead last Saturday on Escario St., Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City, he was supposed to meet an informant that would give him a tip on a drug-related case.

Dayon said they will still have to investigate if the informant that Tabanao texted on his phone was also the gunman.

Dayon said Tabanao’s request-letter for his transfer back to Cebu from Butuan is a big help.

Unlikely motive

“Dunay mga reason didto na gi-state sa iyang (There was a reason in his) letter that would really help in our investigation and somehow answer our question why he was killed. But of course, this will still be verified,” he said.

He said they do not discount the possibility that some people were envious of Tabanao’s work, which led them to kill him.

“That could be one possible motive pero layo-layo ra na nga angle sa atong gisubay karon (but it’s unlikely the reason he was killed),” he said.

Tabanao was supposed to fetch his wife when an unidentified gunman shot him dead.

The gunman, who was wearing a full-faced helmet, was on a motorcycle. He pulled over and approached Tabanao and shot the latter several times.

Tabanao was a former radioman of Bombo Radyo until he returned as a talent of dyRC Radyo Calungsod this year, where he anchored an anti-drug advocacy program. He was transferred to the PDEA Caraga Region last Sept. 1 after serving Central Visayas since 2008.