Police eye robbery in Andaya’s death; family demands justice

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11:42 PM September 12th, 2017

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ROBBED. A smiling photograph of former Mandaue City councilor Jesus Beethoven Andaya is placed on top of his coffin at his wake at the St. Peter’s Chapel in Mandaue City in this photo taken on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 . Andaya was killed inside his room at a resort in Santander, Cebu, on Monday.
CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO

THE family of former Mandaue City councilor Beethoven Andaya on Tuesday cried for justice after police said his death inside a resort in Santander town on Monday was most likely a case of robbery.

“We badly need justice for him. That is the most important thing we want to achieve,” Andaya’s nephew and incumbent Mandaue City Councilor Malcolm Andaya-Sanchez told Cebu Daily News by phone on Tuesday.

Police investigators zeroed in on robbery as the motive behind Andaya’s death after they found that the former councilor’s two cellular phones and possibly a significant amount of money he brought with him were missing.

Andaya, 55, who served as councilor of Mandaue City from 2007 to 2016, was found dead with two gunshot wounds inside one of the rooms of Peebles Beach Resort and Restaurant in Barangay Liloan, Santander town, about 130 kilometers south of Cebu City, on Monday morning.

His brother Eugene told police that the victim, a cockfighting afficionado, would usually carry cash of not less than P20,000 to bet on cockfighting derbies. On Monday, police found only P1,300 cash near Andaya’s body.

Supt. Mario Baquiran Jr., chief of the Satander Police Station, said there were cockfighting derbies in Barangay Poblacion of the town last Saturday and Sunday, but Andaya was not seen there on those days.

At least two witnesses who stayed in another room inside the resort told authorities that they saw two men knock on the door where Andaya stayed at around 9:30 p.m. last Sunday.

Andaya was alone when he checked in at the resort an hour earlier.

Lone CCTV

However, investigators have difficulty identifying the two men who entered Andaya’s room because the resort’s lone closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera was installed at the administrative building — around 30 meters away from the room rented by the former councilor, said Baquiran.

Also, the two suspects did not pass the resort’s main entrance, he said.

“There are no other CCTVs in the place. And the resort where the victim was killed is quite isolated,” Baquiran said.

The two witnesses, he said, could not provide accurate profiles of the two suspects since the place was dimly lit.

“Nahihirapan talaga kami. Sa ngayon, wala pa tayong leads kung ano talaga ang nangyari (We’re having a hard time in the investigation. For now, we don’t have any leads as to what really happened),” Baquiran said.

A special police task force was created by Baquiran on Tuesday to look into Andaya’s death and to identify and arrest the perpetrators.

“We are hoping that other witnesses who have an idea of what happened will come forward and help us,” he said.

An autopsy conducted on Andaya’s body showed no signs of self-inflicted injuries, strengthening the police’s claim that the former councilor did not commit suicide, said lawyer Victor Maambong, a close friend of Andaya.

Although there were traces of gunpowder on his left hand, the police said there was a possibility that he tried to parry the gun pointed at him.

Andaya’s body was brought to the St. Peter’s Funeral Homes in Mandaue City. It will stay there for four days before it will be transferred to his family’s ancestral home in Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City.

The date of Andaya’s burial is tentatively set on September 21.

Andaya’s two daughters are expected to arrive from the United States and Europe, said Sanchez.

Andaya and his wife Charlotte have three daughters. The youngest is still studying in a university in Cebu City.

Dumbfounded

Sanchez said they were dumbfounded when they learned about Andaya’s death.

“Wala gyud nay kontra si uncle. Bisan sa politika, wala gyud na siyay naligsan (My uncle had no enemies. Even in politics, he has not offended anyone),” he said.

Sanchez said his uncle had not indicated or spoken of any threat against him.

Andaya was supposed to travel to Dumaguete City last Monday for a business appointment.

The former councilor owned a trucking business, furniture shops, a piggery and merchandising stores in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue and in Consolacion town.

When Andaya lost in the vice mayoral race in Mandaue City in 2016, he focused on his businesses and spent time with his family more often, according to Sanchez.

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