ANOTHER PDEA AGENT KILLED

By Benjie B. Talisic, Nestle L. Semilla, Norman V. Mendoza |August 08,2018 - 11:25 PM

More than 30 bullet shells have been counted and marked by Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) investigators as they scour the area along N. Bacalso Avenue, Barangay Perrelos, Carcar City, where Von Rian Tecson, a senior agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7), was ambushed and killed at around 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018.

AMBUSH IN CARCAR CITY…

Von Rian Tecson was just a hundred meters from his home when a hail of bullets claimed his life.

Tecson, a senior agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7), was on the front seat of his vehicle when four men on board two motorcycles peppered his Ford Ranger pickup truck with bullets as it was slowing down due to traffic along the main highway of Barangay Perrelos in Carcar City, 40.3 kilometers south of Cebu City, at around 1 p.m. yesterday.

Tecson, 41, suffered multiple gunshot wounds on his head and body.

Investigators recovered 30 empty bullet shells at the crime scene, some of which were believed to have been fired by Tecson, who had wounded one of his assailants before he was killed.

Tecson’s driver, Arnulfo Bauyaban, was also hit in the leg but managed to run away.

Bauyaban, in an interview, said Tecson did not go down without a fight, as he was able to fire back and hit one of the gunmen who was rescued by his cohorts and taken by men on board a back-up vehicle, a red Mitsubishi Pajero.

Tecson was the second PDEA officer in Central Visayas who was ambushed and killed in just a span of 13 days, coming in the heels of the still unsolved assassination of Earl Rallos, the head of operation of PDEA-7, as he was driving his car along Villalon Drive in Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City, on July 27.

Tecson, a team leader in anti-narcotics operations, was also among three men who were gunned down by still unknown assailants since 11 p.m. on Tuesday, bringing the number of persons killed in the wave of murders in Cebu to 117 since February 2018, based on a tally by Cebu Daily News.

Militant, errand boy killed too

Barely an hour earlier, in Lapu-Lapu City, Butch Rosales, 42, a member of a caused-oriented group in Lapu-Lapu City, was seated on the front seat of a jeepney when the gunman seated behind him shot him thrice in the head when they reached Barangay Punta Engaño.

Witnesses claimed that the gunman casually walked away from the crime scene and boarded a motorcycle driven by another person after killing Rosales at past noon, said SPO1 Luisito Ernie, investigator of the Lapu-Lapu City police.

So far, the police have yet to identify the assailant or the motive behind the killing, said Ernie.

Hours earlier, shortly before midnight on Tuesday, unidentified assailants also gunned down Jaypee Carayo in a carnival in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City.

Carayo, an errand boy, suffered gunshot wounds on the head and body.

Senior Supt. Julian Entoma, director of the Mandaue City Police Office, said they were validating reports that Carayo was involved in the illegal drugs trade.

Investigators were also conducting a probe on two separate shooting incidents that wounded two other persons in Mandaue City.

‘Unfortunate’

Newly installed PDEA-7 Director Wardley Getalla said Tecson, like the other Cebu-based agents, was preparing to transfer to PDEA-6 (Western Visayas) in Iloilo City next week, as ordered by their central office.

“This incident (killing of Tecson) is really unfortunate. He was supposed to move to Iloilo and was just preparing his papers,” he told CDN over the phone on Wednesday.

Getalla said he has yet to receive an official report from the police regarding the killing of Tecson but appealed to authorities to solve the crime.

“Let us allow the proper agencies to do the investigation,” he said.

With two PDEA officers killed in Cebu in just a span of two weeks, Getalla called on all PDEA agents to be careful.

“Nangyayari talaga yan sa buhay ng isang law enforcer kaya talagang sabi ko sa tao ko na magdoble ingat tayo. At syempre, lagi tayo magdarasal para masiguro natin ang kaligtasan ng bawat agent (Getting killed is part of the life of a law enforcer. Hence, I told my men to be careful at all times. And of course, we have to pray always so that we can ensure the safety of every agent),” he said.

Death threats

Tecson’s older brother, SPO1 Von Tecson, believed a big-time drug personality was behind the killing.

“Miingon na siya nako nga gibaharan kuno na sila sa usa ka drug lord nga ilang dinakpan sa una. Kuhaon gyud kuno sila. Dako gyud nang grupoha kay dato man kuno (He told me that he received threats from a suspected drug lord who they earlier arrested. He was told that he and his team members will be killed. I believe it’s a big drug group because he said the leader is rich),” he said.

The policeman said his brother did not elaborate who made the threats or the group alluded to.

“Sila man na ni Earl ang kauban. Ako na siya giingnan nga bantay-bantay lang, pag-amping pirme. Igo ra man siya nikatawa (He and Earl Rallos were close friends. I told him to be vigilant and careful, but he just laughed it off),” SPO1 Tecson said.

The slain PDEA-7 agent was the second of three children.

His father Benedicto urged authorities to identify and arrest the perpetrators.

“Justice must be served,” he said in Cebuano.

“We last spoke last week when he told me that he was going to Iloilo,” the grieving father added.

Last week, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino ordered all operatives and staff of the Central Visayas and Western Visayas offices to swap assignments, citing threat and “greater risks” for the Cebu-based agents following the slay of Rallos.

Three men, one woman?

PO2 Joe Marie Villar, investigator of the Carcar Police Station, said Tecson was on his way home to Sitio Katugasan in Barangay Perrelos, Carcar City, when his Ford Ranger was caught in between two motorcycle-riding men who fired shots at him.

He said one of the assailants tried to open the door of the passenger seat where Tecson was seated. The PDEA-7 agent reportedly managed to shoot the suspect.

Villar said the assailant’s companions tried to rescue him and put him on a red Pajero that sped off towards the north.

Tecson’s driver said he could not recognize the faces of the assailants but said one appeared to be a woman.

“There are at least four suspects here,” Villar said.

Recovered at the crime scene were about 30 empty shells of an armalite rifle, 9mm pistol, .45 caliber gun; a sandal, a black bull cap with a sword logo of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association, and a face mask with a skull design on it.

Manhunt

Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, ordered all police station chiefs to go to all hospitals located within their jurisdictions and verify whether one of the suspects was brought there.

Supt. Gregorio Galsim, Carcar City police chief, said they received reports that a man with a gunshot wound was brought to the South General Hospital in Naga City, Cebu, on Wednesday afternoon.

Accordingly, he said one of the hospital guards was told by a person who brought the man that the latter was accidentally hit at a firing range.

“We’re validating that,” he said.

As of 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Galsim said he has yet to receive any feedback from investigators.

However, a guard at the South General Hospital told Cebu Daily News that a man with a gunshot wound was rushed there on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked if the patient was on board a red Pajero, the guard said he could not remember. /WITH ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL and Paul Lauro

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