Just as police forces in Cebu were kept busy with guarding cemeteries crowded with thousands of people paying respects to their dead relatives, a Lapu-Lapu City policewoman who had just gone off duty from her Kalag-kalag task was attacked and killed last night in Barangay Basak, Mandaue City.
PO1 Sassy Mae Sasing was driving her motorcycle along Barangay Basak in Mandaue City when she was repeatedly shot by one of the two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle shortly before 7 p.m.
Sasing, in her late 20s and who was assigned at the Public Safety Company of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LLCPO), was on her way home to Barangay Jugan, Consolacion town in northern Cebu when her attackers fired several shots, hitting her in the head and other parts of the body.
She was rushed to the Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City but was already dead when she reached the hospital at 8:30 p.m., according to Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna.
Fortuna said he was told by Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) investigators that Sasing sustained multiple gunshot wounds on her body. A fatal shot was also aimed at her head.
“Me and Mayor Luigi Quisumbing were monitoring activities in the city. We got information from the City Command Center tonight on the shooting alarm,” Fortuna said in a phone interview.
Fortuna said he was told by police investigators handling the case that Sasing came from work at the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LLCPO).
She was assigned as part of the city’s Kalag-kalag security team tasked to secure the city’s cemeteries during the All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day celebrations.
Sasing, he said, was at the vicinity of Consuelo Village in Barangay Basak, Mandaue City, or around 15 kilometers away from the LLCPO, when attacked by gunmen believed to have been tailing her since she left the LLCPO headquarters.
Emergency rescuers from the Philippine Red Cross Regional Operations Center and Warehouse, which is located in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City, or around a kilometer away from the crime site, were the ones who brought the policewoman to the Chong Hua Hospital located at the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City.
“Gi-try siya og revive pero wala na (They tried to revive her but she was no longer responsive),” Fortuna said.
Supt. Bernole Abalos of the City Intelligence Branch of the Mandaue City Police Office said they were still conducting follow-up operations to locate and arrest her killers.
He said investigators were looking for a clearer CCTV footage from nearby establishments hoping to get a clearer image of the suspects.
Abalos said they were considering all possible angles which might have led to Sasing’s death.
Chief Insp. Mercy Villaro, information officer of MCPO, said that based on their initial investigation, Sasing was already off duty but was still in uniform as she headed home.
Police investigators surmised that Sasing was planning to make a shortcut at Consuelo Village in Barangay Basak when she was waylaid.
The motorcycle driver positioned on Sasing’s right side while the backrider fired shots at her, said Villaro, quoting statements from witnesses.
Based on witnesses’ account and the CCTV recording coming from a nearby establishment in Barangay Basak, the motorcyle-riding men drove close to Sasing’s motorcycle before she was repeatedly shot.
Witnesses heard at least three bursts of gunfire before they saw the policewoman fall from her motorcycle, Villaro said.
Sasing sustained gunshot wounds at the back of her body and at the back of her head.
Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) recovered three empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.
The Investigation and Detection Management Branch (IDMB) of MCPO has been tasked to conduct the follow-up operation on the murder case.
Senior Insp. Rex Ibañez, officer of the day of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, rushed to the crime scene after hearing reports on Sasing’s murder.
He said the policewoman was mostly assigned to do office works.
“Maayo man ang akong nahibaw-an ani niya sa trabaho. Wala man ni kaaway. Maayo sab ni og relasyon sa iyang mga kauban (We did not have
problems with her at work. She did not have enemies. She also keeps good relations with her coworkers),” said Ibañez.
Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot, LLCPO chief, could not be reached for comment.