“MGA anak sa Ginoo, pamalit na ‘mo (Children of God, please buy)” were the last words former convict and vendor Joseph Dagatan uttered before he was shot dead by three still unidentified men disguised as customers Thursday night.
Dagatan was shot around 7:45 p.m. Thursday right inside his home, where he sells ‘maruya’ (fried banana), foodstuff and various goods at Tangkongan compound, Pinikitan, Barangay Camaman-an, police said.
The victim was shot on his chest and was pronounced dead by attending physicians.
His sister-in-law, Mailyn Casimero, 35, who lives next to his house saw Dagatan already lying on the floor lifeless right after she heard gunshots were fired.
"I heard loud shots so I went out of my house to see what had happened," Casimero, 35, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro. "Then I saw him there bathing in his own blood."
The moment the shots rang out, three disguised customers wearing leather jackets and ball caps were seen fleeing from the compound where Dagatan resided.
The police said they could not identify “people of interest,” or someone involved in a criminal investigation who has not been arrested or formally accused of a crime, in the area yet.
However, Casimero believes the suspects are strangers in the compound where Dagatan resided.
The shooting took place in the jurisdiction of the police station 4 (PS4) in Cogon, and it was the second killing in their area this week, Senior Police Officer 1 Apollo Neil de Las Alas, chief investigator, said.
Recovered from the crime scene was a P20 bill, two pieces of ‘maruya,’ and the five used gun shells and one live bullet believed to be from a .45 caliber pistol.
Dagatan’s relative Edward, who only gave his first name, arrived at the site from Bukidnon Friday afternoon reminisced how “stubborn” his cousin was in their younger days.
"He was stubborn. He went against his parents as always," Edward told this paper. "But I believe he's changed since he got out of prison."
It’s been more than a month since Dagatan was released from jail. He was bailed by Casimero.
The victim was jailed since last year in Davao Penal Colony for theft of cash.
Casimero recalled her brother-in-law as “tireless” who’s still buzzing after a day’s chores had been done.
"He would wake up as early as three in the morning to prepare for his daughter's food to school, then he would juggle between his sari-sari store and karinderya (eatery)," she said.
A tricycle driver named Bocari, 23, recalled that Dagatan used to call his customers “anak sa Ginoo (children of God)” when calling them to buy his wares.
As of this posting, Dagatan’s body lies at a funeral parlor in the city.