Jail officer wounded in ambush

IN the third ambush by unidentified motorcycle-riding men in Cebu City in two months, bullets grazed an official from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) 7 and a pedestrian early Monday morning, March 19.

Both survived.

Jail Insp. Edwin Sarcon, 53, was about to report to the BJMP 7 headquarters at 6:30 a.m. when three men on a motorcycle stopped near the passenger side of his Isuzu mu-X in an intersection in Barangay Guadalupe.

“Witnesses said that an armed man alighted from the motorcycle and started shooting at Sarcon, who managed to disembark from his own car and who ran to the nearby houses for cover,” said SPO1 Winston Ybanez of the Homicide Section of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

The jail official tried to retaliate using his issued 9mm firearm but it twice failed to fire, Ybañez said.

Sarcon called some of his colleagues from the BJMP 7 who rushed to the hospital where the wound on his neck was treated.

Superbalita Cebu correspondent Arnold Bustamante shared some photos at the crime scene.

Security guard Francisco Almoradas, 39, suffered a gunshot wound on his left leg.

Sarcon is the fourth public official to be ambushed in Cebu in the past month.

Jail Chief Supt. Arnold Buenacosa, regional director of the BJMP, said in a Balitang Bisdak interview that Sarcon may have angered an alleged drug lord when he was still deputy jail warden of the Talisay City Jail.

“Siguro dahil sa pagiging strikto niya, may nagalit na drug lord. Yun yung initial na sinabi niya sa ‘kin (Maybe a drug lord got angry because he was so strict. That’s what he initially told him),” Buenacosa said.

Sarcon was relieved last March 1 and assigned to the regional headquarters for three weeks before the attack.

Senior Insp. Jonathan Taneo, chief of the Homicide Section, said that investigators are looking into Sarcon’s previous assignments.

“One of the inmates he managed may have harbored a grudge against him. Aside from the work-related angle, we are also looking at a personal grudge,” Taneo said.

Investigators recovered five empty shells from a .45 pistol and two live bullets from a 9mm in the crime scene.

To help investigators with the recent incidents in Cebu City, Senior Supt. Joel Doria stressed the need for closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in establishments and welcomed the idea of crafting an ordinance banning face covers on motorists, like what the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue have.

“We can really see the importance of the CCTV here because even the clothes or the vehicle of the gunman will be captured. That’s a big lead for our investigators,” Doria said.

Before the attack on Sarcon, the other public officials who were ambushed in Cebu were Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab, who was killed in Cebu City last Feb. 19; PO2 Romeo Bolaño, who was shot and killed while inside his car in Minglanilla last March 13; and San Fernando Councilor Alexander Alicaway, killed in a drive-by shooting in the southern town last March 14.

The newly-installed warden of the Talisay City Jail didn’t receive reports that Sarcon received any threat to his life before he was ambushed today.

Chief Jail Insp. Mary Jane Inopia told SunStar Cebu that though they have been co-officers in the BJMP regional office, there was never a hint that Sarcon was facing any threat.

Inopia said that before she was assigned in Talisay City starting last March 16, Sarcon served as deputy warden to her husband, former Talisay City Jail warden Supt. Gil Inopia, for at least a year.

Sarcon was relieved from his post last March 1.

Both Inopia and Sarcon led strict anti-contraband operations inside the jail, which included daily greyhound operations or surprise inspections.

Last year, the jail’s gate was strafed twice by unidentified men. (With JKV)
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