AN ALLEGED member of a gun-for-hire group accused in killing a police officer in Bohol was shot dead past 1 p.m. Thursday, February 22, in Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

Senior Inspector Windell Abellana, the team leader of Regional Intelligence Division (RID) operatives, identified the fatality as Dante Betaganzo.

The operatives, assisted by Lapu-Lapu City Police Office and Bohol Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) personnel, were serving the warrant of arrest for robbery against Betaganzo, who pulled out his pistol and attempted to shoot.

Abellana said they opened fire at the suspect, whose gun malfunctioned.

Betaganzo was identified to be an associate of Emedio Aparece Jr., who reportedly wore a disguise when he shot dead Senior Police Officer 1 Alejandro Estorgio in a crowded place in Buenavista, Bohol last February 12.

Estorgio, 44, was patrolling to secure a disco party, which was part of the town’s foundation day festivities, when he was allegedly attacked by Aparece.

The police officer succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head.

Aparece’s group reportedly became mad at Estorgio as the police officer was active in arresting members who had pending arrest warrants.

Three police officers in Bohol threatened by the group were transferred to other assignments.

“Ang gobiyerno man nuoy magbantay nila, dili na puyde (The government should not be the one afraid of them),” Abellana said.

RID and Bohol PIB located Betaganzo after they were informed of his presence in Basak. The suspect was alone in his hideout.

“Lisod ni siya sikopon kay magbalhin-balhin og lugar (He moved from place to place, which made it difficult to catch him),” Abellana said.

Betaganzo was facing a robbery case before the sala of Talibon, Bohol Regional Trial Court Branch 52 Judge Irma Zita Masamayor. The bail was set at P24,000.

The suspect’s gun, a .45 pistol, will be examined to determine if it was used in other crimes.

The police are still looking for Aparece and other members of the group who might stage robberies in Cebu province. (KAL)