At least 50 policemen will be deployed to secure the burial of slain Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta today as the event is expected to draw highly-charged emotions from Rupinta supporters who mourn the brutal end of their beloved village chief’s life.
Rupinta’s body will be brought to the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish-Recoletos on Magallanes Street for a 1 p.m. Requiem Mass and will be subsequently laid to rest at the Queen City Memorial Garden.
Supt. Artemio Ricabo, deputy director for administration of the Cebu City Police Office, said that after the mass, a funeral procession will follow from the road leading to Carbon Public Market near the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) to M.C. Briones Street, down to M.J. Cuenco Avenue.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, a close friend of Rupinta, said the burial will be a “highly emotional event” with crowds of Ermita residents, relatives and friends expected to attend.
“We believe that there is justice, there is God. We will leave it all to Him,” said Garganera as he urged the people of Ermita to stay calm.
Ricabo said Chief Insp. Jacinto Mandal Jr., station commander of the Carbon Police Station, will be on top of the peace and order situation during the mass, while Chief Insp. Clark Arriola, chief of the Mabolo Police Station, will lead the police officers who are deployed at the cemetery.
“I advice the supporters of Captain Rupinta to be calm and to avoid creating trouble,” Ricabo also said in an interview on Thursday.
“The case on Captain Rupinta’s slay is good as solved since two of the suspects were already arrested. Let justice take its course,” he added.
Rupinta was driving his vehicle on his way home to a subdivision in Liloan town, north Cebu with his partner, Jocelyn Mendoza, in the evening of November 23 when he was gunned down by unidentified assailants on board two motorcycles while traversing the road in Barangay Tayud.
Rupinta was shot four times including one in the head, and died before reaching the hospital. Mendoza survived the incident.
Police have so far arrested two suspects —Jimmy Largo and Jordan Gera who were identified by witnesses as the persons who waited for Rupinta to leave the Ermita Barangay Hall and later shot the village chief.
Largo and Gera denied the claims.
The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) earlier said it already had the name of the mastermind but refused to reveal more details while further investigation was being conducted.
Meanwhile, Garganera said that the P300,000 bounty offered by Barug Team Rama will be given to the tipster; however, as of the moment, they are still waiting for additional information from the police.
“Are they trying to test if the money is there? We are very serious in going after who is behind the killing,” said Garganera.