TWO men shot three persons, including an alleged peddler of the late suspected drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, at 11:30 a.m. yesterday in Victor Village, Barangay Punta Prinsesa, Cebu City.
One of the three killed was a 16-year-old girl.
“Ang ako pa gyung anak? Way labot akong anak (Why did they kill my child? She had nothing to do with it),” said the girl’s mother. She wailed when she saw her daughter bloodied and dead beside two suspected drug pushers, who were brothers.
Their deaths brought to 114 the number of persons killed by so far unidentified gunmen in Central Visayas since the start of the current war on illegal drugs.
Police identified the victims as Cesario Ibona, 45, who succumbed to five gunshot wounds, his brother Ramon Ibona, 55, and Riza, a 16-year-old girl (real name withheld).
“A witness informed us that he saw two men looking for Ramon and one of the men who was able-bodied forced his way through the gate,” PO3 Winston Ybanez of the Homicide Section said.
“When one of the men saw the victims, he drew his gun and started shooting at them,” he added.
Eight sachets of shabu, several drug paraphernalia and empty shells fired from a .45 were scattered on the crime scene.
Before the gunfire, the three were sitting on a wooden bench inside a house when two unidentified men with improvised masks called out for Ramon.
Upon reaching the living room of the house, one of the men started shooting.
Christian Acampado, 18, who was in a room a few steps away from the crime scene, said he heard gunshot wounds and started scrambling for cover.
He said that Riza, who was his girlfriend, was innocent and was just dragged into the mess. When he was asked what paticular kind of mess, he only cried.
“Dili to runner wala to’y kalibutan, giamong lagi to nila (She was not a runner. She didn’t know anything. She was just included when the suspects shot them),” he said.
Lock in hand
According to a barangay tanod (who asked not to be named), the girl was only smoking a cigarette on the bench together with the two men when the gunman started shooting at them.
He saw one of the victims clutching a lock, which made him believe that they tried to lock the door but the assailants got to them first.
Riza’s sister Claire cried at the fate of her younger sibling and said that she was unjustly killed.
“Wa ma’y problema nang mga drug lord ug mga pusher dinha pero ang user di lang unta i-apil. Kahibaw gyud sila nga minor na, nganong i-apil man nilag tira? (I don’t have any problems with the killing of drug lords and pushers, but why would they include the users? She was a minor. Why did they shoot her, too?),” she said, in tears.
Senior Insp. Alvin Llamedo, chief of the Punta Prinsesa Police Station, confirmed that Ramon was one of Diaz’s peddlers and that was what led them to monitor him closely.
Diaz was shot and killed by a team of Cebu-based policemen during an operation in Las Piñas in late June, a few days before President Rodrigo Duterte officially began his term.
Llamedo said that he personally talked to Ramon when the latter surrendered to the Oplan Tokhang of Police Station 10. Under Oplan Tokhang, police teams knock on the doors of suspected users and pushers to persuade them to give up illegal drugs.
“Gipasulod nako na sa opisina niya akong giestoryahan pero medyo passive kaayo siya. Wala gyud manghatag og saktong information (I let him inside my office and talked to him but he seemed passive. He didn’t give any correct information at all),” he said.
“Dagko na ang iyang duwa ug ang Punta Prinsesa iyang operation (He handled a big operation that included Punta Princesa),” he added. (As of May 2010, the government’s statistics office placed the barangay’s population at 22,270.)
The station chief said that Ramon had been operating for a long time in the barangay and was the direct supplier of street peddlers that the police had arrested.
However, police found it hard to trace him because of his careful and elaborate handling of his trade.
Ramon’s compound consisted of two big houses with a complex network of rooms and secret exits. This made it hard for the police to catch Ramon during drug raids.
One of the angles that the police are looking into is that Ramon’s killer was another drug pusher with the same level as him.
“Dili man na siya magpasulod ug mga ginagmay nga street pushers lang. Lig-on ang gate niya naa’y buzzer (He didn’t just let any street pushers inside. His gate is strong and has a buzzer),” he said.
Cebu City Police Director Joel Doria, in an interview, urged parents to keep their children away from drugs after numerous reports that minors are being used to repack shabu or serve as runners.
“Watch over your children. Instead of being in school, they are being used for evil intentions,” he said in Tagalog.
Doria added that those persons involved in drugs knew the imminent danger they’re in, and encouraged them to surrender.
He has directed his units to investigate the killings so that they can establish links that will help them put in jail those who committed the crime.