Two habal-habal drivers, victim’s distant kin, picked up

By Benjie B. Talisic, Cris Ligan, Nestle L. Semilla |July 11,2017 - 11:19 PM

Two habal-habal drivers, distant relatives of murdered call center agent Aireen Adolfo, Ramontito Tribunalo (center) and Sherwin Velasquez (right) are questioned at the Talamban Police Station after police separately picked them up.

persons of interest in call center agent’s murder

Two motorcycle-for-hire drivers or habal-habal drivers, who are distant relatives of the murdered call center agent in Barangay Pulangbato in northern Cebu City, are being investigated in the death of the 24-year-old woman.

Supt. Ryan Devaras, Investigation and Detection Management Branch (IDMB) chief, said Sherwin Velasquez, 43, and Ramonito Tribunalo, 38, are considered persons of interest in the killing of call center agent Aireen Adolfo.

Devaras said that both men denied involvement in the crime.

He said that both men could not be called suspects yet but persons of interest because they had yet to establish their link to the crime and look for possible witnesses or evidence that would corroborate their involvement.

However, they were not freed after questioning but both were detained at the Talamban Police Station because they were caught for other violations.

Devaras said that Velasquez was caught with a sachet of suspected shabu when he was picked up for questioning while Tribunalo was caught with at least seven bullets of a .38 caliber revolver inside his house.

Devaras said that Velasquez is considered a person of interest in the killing of Adolfo because the victim’s bag was found in a river near Velasquez’s house while Tribunalo according to records in the Talamban Police Station had been linked to a series of robbery in Barangay Talamban.

Both Velasquez and Tribunalo are distant uncles of the victim.

Velasquez, who denied involvement in the crime, told Cebu Daily News in a separate interview that he was watching a cockfight at the cockpit when the killing occurred.

“Dili na nako mabuhat sa akong pagumangkon (I cannot kill my own niece),” Velasquez said.

He also said that the victim’s bag could have floated and carried by the river from the crime scene to the back of their house.

But Velasquez admitted being jailed for illegal drug possession charges last year and had just been released last January 25.

He is also considered as one of the high-value targets of Talamban Police Station while Tribunalo is a suspect in a series of robbery in Barangay Talamban.

Devaras said that Velasquez was caught with illegal drugs when the Talamban Police Station conducted a body search on him after a long chase from Barangay Pit-os where the police officers flagged him down while he was riding his motorcycle.

Devaras said that the police officers cornered Velasquez, who sped away instead of stopping when flagged down in his house in Sitio Dita at past 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Tribunalo, on the other hand, was picked up inside his house at 4 p.m.

Devaras said that police officers, however, found seven bullets in his house, and a motorcycle without a plate number.

Devaras said that Tribunalo also denied involvement in the crime and told the police officers that he was at home, the whole day on Sunday, which was the day Adolfo was murdered.

He said that they would coordinate with the Highway Patrol Group to find out if the confiscated motorcycle from Tribunalo was stolen or had been used in illegal activities.

Devaras said that they were looking at the possibility that two or more persons robbed and killed Adolfo, who had allegedly withdrawn earlier that day from an ATM worth P30,000.

Devaras said that the money, the victim’s ATM card and the ATM receipt had not yet been found because the bag was thrown at the river after the crime.

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