BLOODY, SAD CHRISTMAS
They were heartbreaking tragedies, two senseless shooting incidents that occurred just as the world over was about to celebrate Christmas.
They claimed the life of a father and left the son fighting on for dear life, but after two days in critical condition, lawyer Gerik Caesare Paderanga has succumbed to the injuries he sustained. He was 37.
Gerik passed away at around 11:20 p.m. on Christmas day and like his father, lawyer Goering Gorge Paderanga, he was buried less than 24 hours after at the Angelicum Garden of Angels Cemetery in Canduman, Mandaue City.
Before anyone could come to terms with the shooting of the Paderangas, a police officer ended up dead when he tried to pacify a bunch of rowdy brothers while on the road and passing through Carmen town at around 4 p.m. of Dec. 24.
Senior Insp. Alejandro Nuñez, the police chief of Catmon town, was in civilian clothes and had taken a few hours off just so he could go home and spend the noche buena with his family in Lapu-Lapu City when, while responding to the commotion, was fired upon. After he fired back and shot one of the brothers, the others ganged up on him and shot him in the head. Two other brothers were later killed by other policemen.
In an interview with Cebu Daily News, PO3 Queen Bridgette Nuñez demanded justice for her husband’s untimely death.
“He was a good husband and a provider. Wala gyud koy ikaingon nga bati sa akong husband because he was a good police officer, walay bisyo, wala tanan. Maong sakit kaayo ang nahitabo (I don’t have anything bad to say against my husband because he was a good police officer and did not have any vice. That is why what happened to him is so painful),” the policewoman said.
Two days earlier, the Paderangas were shot outside their law office on F. Ramos Street in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Cebu City at 8:45 p.m. of Dec. 22 by a security guard over a mere parking issue.
Goering, the husband of Judge Sylva Aguirre-Paderanga of the Regional Trial Court Branch 16 in Cebu City, succumbed to three gunshot wounds in the body while Gerik was brought to Cebu Velez General Hospital in critical condition before he died.
The older Paderanga, 62, was immediately laid to rest on Friday afternoon, in deference to his wish that should he die, he did not want to be embalmed and would rather be buried within 24 hours of his death. Gerik likewise had the same wish and was buried the same way as his father, according to lawyer Ian Sapayan, a relative of the Paderangas.
Security guard Jonathan Sanchez said he was angry at Gerik because he blocked the entry of the cement mixer to the construction site that he was guarding.
The lawyers’ law firm is located along the narrow road that leads to the construction site of a condominium project of Crown Regency Club Ultima being undertaken by Monocrete Construction.
While there was never any heated confrontation between him and the two lawyers, Sanchez admitted he was angry that they would ignore him whenever he asked the lawyers to remove their vehicles.
Sanchez, who was nabbed 14 hours after the shooting and facing murder charges, is now held at the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) detention center.
“Nagpaabot pa ta sa pamilya (Paderanga) nga moari para formal… Wala sila kaari karong buntag kay ilubong man to dayon (We are still waiting for the family to formally file a complaint here. They were supposed to be here this morning but they were not able to come since they immediately have to bury Gerik),” said PO3 Winston Ybañez of the CCPO.
Lawless and violent society
In a text message to Cebu Daily News, lawyer Elaine Bathan, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) governor for Eastern Visayas, said the IBP condemned the shooting of the father and son.
“IBP grieves with the Paderanga family and truly the passing of the two lawyers is a loss to the legal profession,” she said.
“This is an eye opener to many of us because seemingly, our society has transformed into a society that quickly resorts to lawlessness and violence and that the taking of one’s life comes easily without fear of the legal consequences,” she added.
Bathan pointed out that their deaths call for a review on the laws and policies being followed by security agencies and other similar institutions.
“The unfortunate incident calls for a review of laws and policies in the operation of security agencies and similar business to ensure that hired guards are mentally, psychologically, and physically fit to carry firearms,” she said. “We continue to condemn all violent attacks against lawyers regardless of motive as nothing will ever justify the untimely taking of one’s life.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 10:30 a.m., a Cebu lawyers’ solidarity Mass will be held at the IBP Social Hall inside the Provincial Capitol Compound to pray and call for justice for all members of the legal profession who have died violently and whose cases remain unsolved until now.
The death of Nuñez
Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño commended the heroic act of Nunez, adding that what happened was unfortunate since Nunez only responded to a commotion.
“Naka-civilian siya at siya lang mag-isa pero dahil sa pagka-police niya, nag-responde siya sa isang kaguluhan while traveling along the road on his way home (He was not in his uniform and he was alone, but because he is a police officer, he responded to a commotion while traveling along the road on his way home),” Taliño said.
According to Taliño, Nuñez was en route to Lapu-Lapu City, returning home ahead of his wife, also a police officer, to take care of their two young sons aged 6 and 2 years old.
But he stopped in Barangay Fuente of Carmen when he saw several drunk persons, one of whom was indiscriminately firing a gun. He introduced himself to the suspects and confronted the person in possession of firearm, later identified as Carlito Jayson, 32, the second eldest of the five brothers. But Carlito suddenly fired at Nunez but missed, prompting the police officer to fire back, hitting Carlito in his left chest.
As Carlito fell (he was later declared to have died on the spot), the other brothers — Camilo Jr., 33; Carlo, 28; Ricardo, 22; and Jaime, 21 — ganged on and overpowered Nuñez, one of whom was able to get the policeman’s firearm and used it to shoot Nuñez in the head.
The four brothers then fled, bringing with them the policeman’s firearm. Residents rushed Nunez and Carlito to the district hospital in the adjoining Danao City, but both were declared dead on arrival.
Two other brothers dead
The Carmen police went on a pursuit operation and arrested Camilo, Carlo and Ricardo hours later but Jaime was able to elude arrest.
The three brothers were being booked at the Carmen Police Station when Ricardo reportedly suddenly made a grab for the service firearm of SPO4 Renerio Masocol Jr., the deputy chief of the station. Ricardo and Masocol were grappling for the gun when it fired and hit Masocol, forcing another policeman, PO1 Jayson Ramos, to shoot Ricardo, killing the latter instantly.
Ricardo sustained gunshot wounds in the different parts of his body while Masocol sustained a gunshot wound that fractured his left hand, said Taliño.
Camilo, on the other hand, volunteered to guide the police to the location of his brother Jaime in Barangay Corte, Carmen. But when they got there, Camilo reportedly snatched the service firearm of one of the policemen, prompting the others to shoot and kill him.
As of this writing, Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) director Senior Supt. Eric Noble told Cebu Daily News that Jaime was still at large and subject of a pursuit operation by policemen from Carmen and Catmon towns and the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC).
Taliño ordered the police to get Jaime dead or alive.
“Ongoing yung follow-up operation natin. Sabi ko hindi dapat natin ito palampasin, kailangan ma-neutralize whatever way ito. Kung ayaw sumuko or lumaban, barilin na. Patayin na rin (Our follow up operation is still ongoing. I told them we will not let this pass. We will neutralize him whatever way. If he will not surrender or will fight back, shoot him),” Taliño said.
Talino added that the five brothers are notorious in their place for a murder case and were also in the barangay’s drug watch list. Carmen policemen in fact recovered two sachets of suspected shabu and cash amounting to P5,000 from the pocket of Ricardo, he said.
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