It’s just too unfortunate for burglary suspect Lendon Abadenas that he ended up detained at the Ermita barangay hall of Cebu City of all places where he would meet his death at the hands of two tanods who obviously don’t care a whit about due process.
Junniel Sanchez and Jerome Miral face charges at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office for the murder of Abadenas, a Cebu City resident who may or may not have burglarized a house nor even stole something as what the two tanods accused him of doing.
Abadenas may not even be his real name, and so far, no one has claimed his remains. For all we know, he may just be a vagrant whom Sanchez and Miral picked off the streets to show as accomplishment to their bosses at the barangay hall.
The way he died or was killed was merely a reflection of what the police had been accused of doing more than one year into the Duterte administration’s drug war — that is, seemingly picking targets at random and executing them at will preferably with no witnesses in sight.
While there was no mention of Abadenas using drugs, the brutal treatment he allegedly received at the hands of Sanchez and Miral could just be as typical as the way police handled illegal drug and criminal suspects.
There were no security cameras, but there were detainees who witnessed how Miral and Sanchez manhandled Abadenas before they brought him out for transfer to the nearby Carbon Police Precinct at midnight.
The eyewitness accounts practically sealed the case and refuted whatever rebuttals the two tanods have in defending themselves since it was clear that Abadenas — handcuffed presumably with his hands behind, mouth covered with scotch tape and bruised all over — could not possibly hope to overpower an armed Sanchez and Miral at the same time.
Unless he has a special skill set, i.e., he was a ninja or a commando, Abadenas had no way of escaping from the two tanods with the police precinct nearby. And the obvious question would be why he was detained in the barangay hall in the first place.
While Barangay Ermita officials may justify that their cell is merely a temporary holding place for suspects prior to their transfer to the police precinct, the problem lies when they are detained for far longer than necessary.
That it happened under the nose of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo Rupinta is a telling indictment on how he has mismanaged the barangay’s peace and order situation.
What happened to Abadenas mirrored the 2012 Trayvon Martin murder in Miami, Florida, in which a neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman shot him on suspicion of criminal activity.
Cebu City Hall and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) along with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should reorient barangay tanods on how to deal with criminal suspects and to coordinate with police to avoid similar incidents in the future.