Vigilantes eyed in drug killings

POLICE are on the lookout for vigilante groups that operate in Cebu City after three suspected drug pushers were shot, two of them fatally, by unidentified motorcycle-riding men yesterday.

The three men were shot in Barangays Labangon, Mambaling and Lorega.

Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Deputy Director for Administration Supt. Artemio Ricabo said they are also looking into the angle that fellow drug pushers had killed the men to cover their tracks and erase the victims’ link to them.

It could also be they are killing each other like what is happening in Manila, Ricabo, also the CCPO’s public information officer, told Sun.Star Cebu.

Intelligence operations reportedly detected the presence of vigilante killers in the city, but the information has yet to be verified.

Since July 18, the police have recorded the shooting of four drug personalities by unidentified gunmen, two of which happened last Wednesday and yesterday.

“We are not encouraging them. Abi pa lang ni-tolerate mi nila. Dakpon gihapon sila (The public might think we are tolerating this, they will still be arrested),” he said.

He urged the public to report any persons acting suspiciously in their barangay as part of the police’s anti-criminality campaign.

Labangon, Cebu City

At 8:40 p.m. of July 27, Erwin Quijano, 40, who was number 12 in the drug watch list of Police Station 10, was shot twice in the neck in Barangay Labangon. His killer is unidentified.

He remains in critical condition as of last night.

An informant, John (name withheld), said Quijano was napping on a table when a masked man wearing a bull cap shot Quijano in the nape.

Mambaling, Cebu City

Two hours later at 10:20 p.m., a surrenderee of the Oplan Tokhang of the Mambaling Police Station was gunned down by motorcycle-riding men on Tabada Street in Barangay Mambaling.

Dario Paez, 49, succumbed to gunshot wounds in his head and body.

Paez, a drug pusher, surrendered during the Oplan Tokhang last July 2.

According to PO3 Nicolo Gonzales of the Homicide Section, residents of the area heard 13 gunshots.

A cardboard with the words “PUSHER KO” was found beside his body.

Lorega, Cebu City

Another known drug pusher in Sitio Lawis, Barangay Lorega was gunned down also by unidentified men onboard a motorcycle at 12:35 a.m the next day.

Police identified the fatality as Edwin Casinillo, 49. His companion Erwin Lambo was hit in the arm.

Gonzales said that according to Casinillo’s brother, he heard a gunshot while he was inside his house, so he looked outside.

He was shocked to see his brother crawling on the ground and begging for help, but he did not rush out for fear he would also be shot.

He remained inside the house and saw his brother get shot again.

After the last gunshot, he saw the gunman sped off on a motorcycle.

Recovered from the scene were seven empty shells of .45 caliber, one deformed slug and one live ammo.

Pusok, Lapu-Lapu

Meanwhile, in Lapu-Lapu City, two suspected drug pushers were killed in a buy-bust dawn yesterday in Barangay Pusok after they allegedly tried to shoot the police officers.

The killing of persons allegedly involved in illegal drugs has been recorded in the past three days in Lapu-Lapu.

Members of Lapu-Lapu Police Station 5 led by Senior Insp. Wayne Magbanua shot Noel “Bolantoy” Quintero, 30, and JR Berdijo, after they allegedly pulled their guns and shot at police officers at 12:35 a.m. in Sitio Sta. Maria in Pusok.

Magbanua, the station chief, said the two were considered Level 2 drug pushers and were included in their drug personalities watch list.According to the police spot report, after the poseur buyer received a sachet of shabu from Quintero, the pusher sensed that he was transacting with a police decoy.

Quintero saw that a firearm bulged from the waistband of the police decoy, Magbanua said.

Quintero allegedly pulled out his gun and shot the arresting officers.

At that time, Magbanua said Berdijo, who was with Quintero, also pulled out his gun and shot the police.

The police officers fired back and hit the two suspects in the body.

Members of the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation declared Quintero and Berdijo dead.

Authorities recovered a medium-sized sachet of suspected shabu, 15 tin foil strips, a disposable lighter, a coin purse, a wallet, voter’s identification card, a cellphone, P800 cash and the P200 buy-bust money from the suspects.

They also recovered a 9mm Black Widow revolver with three live ammunitions and a .45 pistol with six live ammos.

The bodies of the suspects were brought to Sure Life Funeral Homes.

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