Bemedalled Calumba’s short assignments give rise to vigilante talks
FOR almost 10 years in service, PO3 Eugene Calumba raked in recognitions for his ”exemplary” skills and dedication.
But unlike most policemen, the bemedaled officer did not stay longer than five months in a given assignment since October 2017 or about 10 months before he was gunned down by the bodyguard of Tejero Barangay Councilman Jessielou Cadungog along T. Padilla Extension in Cebu City last July 30.
His assignments gave rise to insinuations that he was involved in the series of killings in Cebu and other parts of Central Visayas.
“From both eyewitness reports and CCTV (closed circuit television), the killer of (Barangay Kalunasan Councilman Ruel) Mabano and other victims in Cebu City was both left-handed and had a distinct limp. Connect the dots,” said Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña in his post on Facebook.
“I encourage people, especially the media, to continue to investigate the actuations and inconsistencies of the police versions,” he added.
Mabano, a former policeman, was standing under a tent in front of the barangay hall of Kalunasan when a lone assailant approached and shot him twice.
The gunman was left-handed
Chief Insp. Kenneth Paul Albotra, chief of the Parian Police Station and Calumba’s last supervisor, declined to comment when asked whether or not the policeman was left-handed.
“What I know was he was a good policeman with an unblemished record. We knew each other in Negros. He was good and so I got him,” he said.
Based on Calumba’s service record, he was assigned by the Philippine National Police (PNP) National Headquarters to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (RPHAU) of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) on October 9, 2017.
On the same day, he was transferred by PRO-7 to the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office and was subsequently assigned to Station 5 of Bacong town where he stayed for five months
On March 22, 2018, Calumba was instructed by PRO-7 to report to the Cebu Provincial Police Office but was told after four days that he will be assigned in the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
He waited for his specific assignment for 17 days.
On April 12, 2018, Calumba was assigned at the Parian Police Station in Cebu City. After a month and 23 days, he was asked by Camp Crame to move to the police office in Calabarzon in southern Luzon.
However, on the same day, Calumba was again instructed by Camp Crame to return to the Cebu City police.
He again waited for 34 days until he was told to report to the Traffic Patrol Group in Cebu City — his last assignment based on his official service record.
At the time when he was killed, however, Calumba was under the supervision of the Parian Police Station.
Superintendent Artemio Ricabo, deputy director for operations of CCPO, said it was all tight to assign Calumba in Parian because the police station is still under the jurisdiction of the city police.
“There’s an unwritten rule about it. There’s no problem with that as long as his assignment is still in Cebu City,” he said.
Ricabo said Albotra requested Cebu City police to let Calumba help in the operations of the Parian Police.
“It had the blessing of the city police director (Senior Supt. Royina Garma),” he said.
Not a hitman
Calumba’s wife Rosemarie said her 33-year-old husband was not a hitman of any organization.
“Everything he did was legitimate. He was following orders from his superiors, and all he did was to do his job,” she told Cebu Daily News in Cebuano over the phone.
“He even died in line of his job as a policeman,” she added.
Rosemarie said only those who didn’t want to follow the law disliked her husband.
“Those who have involvement in illegal drugs are mad at him. They want to destroy my husband and the entire police organization,” she said.
Rosemarie and Calumba were married in 2012, three years after going steady. The union was blessed with a 6-year-old son.
Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, director of the Central Visayas police, said Calumba was conducting surveillance operations in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City, when he was shot by William Macaslang Jr., the bodyguard of Cadungog, last July 30.
He suffered a gunshot wound on his chest.
Cadungog’s bodyguard, however, claimed that one of the two men on board a motorcycle drove along side the vehicle, pulled out a gun and aimed at the driver’s side, forcing him to shoot first.
The man, whose face was covered with a handkerchief and a helmet, turned out to be Calumba.
Calumba’s companion, Michael Banua, who drove the motorcycle, was collared by the barangay tanods in Tejero.
Both Calumba and Banua have barcode tattoos on their left wrists which many people believed were marks of the vigilantes.
Calumba, a native of Guihulngan town, Negros Oriental, earned his criminology degree from the Negros Oriental State University.
He joined the police service in December 2008 and was assigned at 701st Maneuver Company of the PRO-7 for two years. He spent his next five years in Negros Oriental and Bacolod City before he came back to Cebu in 2017.
Supt. Reyman Tolentin, spokesperson of PRO-7, said Calumba will be accorded a posthumous award.
“He died in line of duty. As to claims that he was a hitman, those are nothing but speculations. Let’s base everything on facts,” he said. /with Ador Vincent S. Mayol
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