THE suspect who killed PO2 Jason Yap in Sibonga last Sunday morning may be engaged in the illegal drug trade after several packs of white crystals believed to be shabu were recovered from his vehicle.
Police found seven sachets of suspected shabu from a plastic container in the Mitsubishi Strada of Ritchie Mendoza Barcenas, who allegedly used a submachine gun to shoot Yap in the face several times.
Police also confiscated a machine pistol, a .38 snub-nosed revolver, 89 bullets and drug paraphernalia.
Yap was a member of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (Raidsotg) 7.
Senior Insp. Henrix Bancoleta of Raidsotg 7 told reporters yesterday that there is a possibility the suspect sells illegal drugs.
“We were stunned. He was close to us and he was a brother,” said Bancoleta in Cebuano, referring to Yap’s death.
He said Yap posed as a buyer in their latest operation in Barangay Calamba, Cebu City where they collared a suspected drug dealer and seized more than P1 million worth of shabu from the latter.
“He is a big loss,” said Bancoleta of Yap, who became a Raidsotg operative five years ago.
The flag was flown at half-staff at the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.
Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, PRO 7 director, said police officers should not forget their safety when dealing with suspicious persons.
Before the incident happened, Yap was driving home to Argao on his black Honda Civic when he saw Barcenas’s vehicle in Barangay Ocaña, Carcar City.
Barcenas was reportedly speeding and almost hit a motorcycle.
Yap tailed the suspect up to Sibonga and called his batchmate PO2 Renato Padigos, who is assigned in the Regional Public Safety Batallion 7, for backup.
Padigos accompanied Yap.
When Barcenas tried to turn to return to Carcar, Yap blocked his vehicle.
The officer got out of his vehicle, and knocked on Barcenas’s window. He introduced himself as a cop and asked for the suspect’s license.
Barcenas asked what he had done wrong before closing the window.
An argument ensued between the two. Barcenas then shot Yap several times.
Padigos retaliated by shooting Barcenas in the stomach.
Investigators recovered seven empty shells of an undetermined caliber in the scene.
Yap and Barcenas were brought to the Carcar City District Hospital, where the police officer was declared dead on arrival.
Barcenas was later brought to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City hours after the incident.
Bancoleta said the suspect is reportedly in stable condition.