Alarm raised over killings by armed security guards
The tragic death of two Cebuano lawyers in the hands of a lone security guard, who now claims to have suffered from a form of mental illness before, has given rise to questions on just how security guards are screened and hired by the agencies that employ them.
Top officials of the city have set off alarm bells on the spate of killings saying that an anger management training for security guards was in order.
Alarmed over the deaths of lawyers Goering George Paderanga and his son, Gerik Caesar, as well as the other senseless shooting incidents involving security guards in the city, Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella called all security agency owners operating in the city to a meeting on Thursday.
“This is for them to give us the commitment that to prevent the previous incidents, we will go beyond the basic requirements,” Labella said.
Labella said that aside from the standard neuro-psychiatric examination, the track record of the applicants must also be scrutinized to check on previous convictions of crimes against persons or properties and the use of illegal drugs.
Labella said that security companies must also require their employees to undergo anger management training.
“Only petty reasons (prompted the killings) and they cannot control their emotion, they cannot hold their anger. That is something that we have to look into. We will ask the owners if they’ve done the trainings on anger management so that it will not be easy for them to just blow up and use the pistol in killing people,” said Labella.
Labella, also a lawyer, pointed out that the Paderanga incident was no longer an isolated case as “a series of the same incident” happened in the city.
No less than three hours after the Paderangas were shot by security guard Jonathan Sanchez outside their law office on F. Ramos Street in Barangay Sta. Cruz purportedly over a parking dispute, off-duty security guard Benvenido Macaraeg, assigned to a private shipping yard at the Cebu International Port, shot laborers Raul Simbajon and Gerson Tumulak.
Macaraeg was reportedly angry after being stared down by the victims following a drinking spree.
Among the things Labella intends to bring up with agency owners was for them to create a system that will prohibit security guards from carrying their service firearms when off-duty.
Cebu City Councilor and deputy mayor on police matters Dave Tumulak, for his part, called on security agencies to strictly follow the law and secure a license for all their guards regardless of the cost of securing licenses.
“There are security guards who are fly-by-night. Those who do not have a security license,” Tumulak said.
Security agencies are being regulated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) who, under the PNP Law, may impose sanctions such as the revocation of an agency’s license to operate.
Over at the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO-7) deputy regional director for operations Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas said that investigators will dig deeper into the killing of the Paderanga father and son even after the arrest of the suspect, Sanchez.
Lawas said that Invincible Armada Security Agency (IASA), the guard’s employers, will be investigated for their hiring process following claims of the suspect that he was a drug user who was treated twice for a mental illness before.
Sanchez’ family had also claimed that sometime in 2013, he figured in a shooting incident in Pier 3, Cebu City but settled it.
“Naa tay mga pangutana kung tinood nga regular ni undergo ug drug test ug neuro-psychiatric test ang ilahang mga guardiya (We would like to know from the agency if their guards regularly undergo a drug test and neuro-psychiatric test),” said Lawas.
Invincible Armada Security Agency is owned by the family of Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, a Cebuano police officer now assigned to the Caraga region.
Efforts by Cebu Daily News to reach Gillamac for his comment last night failed as of press time.
Lawas, a former Firearms Explosives Security Agencies and Guards Supervision (FESAGS) chief, said that based on rules, all security guards are required to undergo a drug and neuro-psychiatric test every six months.
The Cebu City Police Office Homicide Section which is conducting the investigation into the Paderanga killings will also verify the guard’s claim that he was mentally ill.
Lawas also planned to call security agencies to a meeting to get to the bottom of why several shooting incidents that transpired involved security guards in recent weeks.
Last December 6, at a convenience store in I.T. Park, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, security guard John Carlo Espinosa shot to death his fellow guard, Veronico Vergara, as they were about to change shifts.
The incident stemmed from a conflict over their salaries.
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