Three, including a child, die from gunshots just three hours apart
A disgruntled husband looking for a bishop’s advice, a councilman, and a 3-year-old boy perished in separate shooting incidents in
Cebu City in a span of just three hours on Tuesday.
Jefrey Cañedo, 41, was gunned down by operatives of the Mobile Patrol Group, when he allegedly tried to engage them in a shootout inside the Archbishop’s Residence compound along D. Jakosalem Street in Cebu City past 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
Cañedo, a former overseas Filipino worker, wanted to talk to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma purportedly to get the prelate’s advice about his troubled marriage.
The 68-year-old prelate was not around since he flew to Manila last week to attend the 117th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) over the weekend.
While on his way out of the compound, Cañedo, who allegedly had a gun tucked on his waist, was met by policemen who were alerted by employees of the archdiocese.
Cañedo allegedly refused to talk to the police and instead decided to shoot it out with the operatives.
Child hit by stray bullet
About two hours later, a 3-year-old boy was killed after being hit by a stray bullet fired from a gun during an anti-drugs operation of the police in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City.
Bladen Skyler Abatayo was rushed to the Cebu City Medical Center but was declared dead on arrival.
Senior Insp. John Kareen Escober, chief of the Carbon Police Station, said they received a report regarding a group of men who allegedly had a pot session in one of the shanties in Sitio Bato, Ermita.
When they arrived in the area, the members of the Drug Enforcement Unit noticed that one of the suspects had a gun, prompting one operative to grapple for the gun.
The operatives later learned that a boy, who was studying inside a nearby shanty, was hit by a bullet in his chest.
The four drug suspects escaped, Escober said.
“I believe it was one of the suspects who fired the shot that killed the boy. There is no need to conduct a ballistic examination of the service firearms of the operatives since none of them fired a shot during the operation,” he added.
After about an hour, Barangay Kalunasan Councilman Ruel Mabano was shot dead by a still unidentified assailant five meters from the barangay hall.
Footages of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) installed in front of the barangay hall showed that Mabano was standing outside a tent when a lone assailant approached the councilman and shot him twice in the stomach.
Mabano, a former policeman, tried to run away but was shot several times by the assailant who immediately escaped on board a motorcycle.
Senior Insp. Eduardo Sanchez, Guadalupe police precinct chief, said Mabano was formerly assigned at the Cebu City Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Team before he was relieved from his post and transferred to Mindanao along with other policemen in Cebu who were believed to be involved in the narcotics trade.
“We received information that he (Mabano) was a narco-cop although we have to validate that yet. The investigation is ongoing,” Sanchez said.
Last May, Mabano ran and won as one of the councilmen of Kalunasan, Cebu City.
Amid the series of killings in Cebu City, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor on police matters, said the city remains peaceful, adding that Tuesday’s shooting incidents were isolated.
“There’s nothing to be alarmed of. These killings stemmed from different circumstances. And we have full confidence on our new Cebu City Police Office director (Senior Supt. Royina Garma),” he said.
Tumulak, nonetheless, urged investigators to conduct a thorough investigation on the killings.
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo said Archbishop Palma was already informed about the shooting incident inside the Archbishop’s Residence compound.
“Archbishop Palma would like to appeal to the public not to make any speculations and to stay calm. Let us allow the police to do the investigation and to get to the bottom of this,” he said.
“Meanwhile, let us pray for the soul of the person and for peace in general,” he added.
Looking for Palma
Cañedo was shot dead in what police said was a shootout inside the Archbishop’s Residence compound on Tuesday morning.
PO1 Shiela Mae Estrero of the Mobile Patrol Group said they received a call from employees of the Archbishop’s Residence regarding an armed man on board a motorcycle who went inside the home of Cebu’s archbishop.
“When we arrived in the area, the man was on board his motorcycle. Our operatives tried to approach him, but he said, ‘Ayaw ko ninyo hilabti’ (Don’t touch me), before he fired at us,” Estrero said in an interview.
“Left without a choice, we returned fire and hit him,” she added.
Cañedo, a resident of Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, was wearing a face mask and a helmet when he entered the compound of the Archbishop’s Residence at 10:40 a.m.
Asked briefly by the guards what his purpose was and who he wanted to meet at the Archbishop’s Residence, the man replied, “Si Bishop Palma,” before he sped off on board his motorcycle.
Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said Cañedo talked to employees of the Archbishop’s Residence at the parking lot but was informed that the archbishop was still in Manila.
“The man appeared to be disturbed and wasn’t answering questions clearly. He was talking about so many things like he wanted to have confession or he wanted to go to New Zealand. One of the secretaries of the archbishop noticed what seemed to be a firearm tucked on the man’s waist, prompting him to call the police,” he said.
When the police came, Cañedo refused to talk to them and instead allegedly fired at the operatives using his .38 revolver, prompting the responding team to retaliate, hitting him in the different parts of the body.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison officer of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said Cañedo’s dead body was blessed by Villarojo before it was brought to the morgue.
“We’re hoping this is an isolated case,” he said.
Tan said Palma has not received any death threats prior to the incident.
Cañedo’s father, Feliciano, a retired policeman, said his son badly wanted advice from Cebu’s top Church leader.
“He was mentally disturbed. It’s been a while since he separated with his wife and so he wanted to speak and get advice from a top leader of the Church,” he said in an interview.
But Feliciano said he had no idea that his son Jeffrey went to the Archbishop’s Residence on Tuesday.
“He really wanted to have his marriage annulled and work again abroad,” he said.
Feliciano was trying to hold back tears when he learned about his son’s death.
“My son was a good man . . . But let me entrust everything to God,” he said.
Cañedo, the eldest of four siblings, was an employee of the Cebu City’s Department of Public Services and an overseas worker in Qatar. He has two children.
No to killings
Palma, former president of the CBCP, has openly denounced the spate of killings in the country.
In an interview last June 26, he urged the people to pray for President Rodrigo Duterte following the latter’s rant about God and the Catholic Church.
In its Pastoral Exhortation released on Monday, the CBCP offered peace, joy, and forgiveness amid so much hatred and violence in the country.
“Our enemies in this world are not fellow human beings, not ‘flesh and blood’ (Eph 6:12). We do not fight our battles with guns and bullets.
We do not seek protection from those who might wish to harm us by wearing bullet-proof vests, because the battles that we fight are spiritual,” said the statement signed by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the CBCP.
“In these times of darkness, when there’s so much hatred and violence, when murder has become an almost daily occurrence, when people have gotten so used to exchanging insults and hurting words in the social media, we admonish the faithful to remain steadfast in our common vocation and mission to actively work for peace,” he added.
Valles said priests being subjected to threats and even death is nothing new in the history of the Church.
“Have you forgotten that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians? It is what has kept the Church alive after two thousand years. What does the Lord tell his disciples when they are persecuted or humiliated for his sake? He tells them to “rejoice and be glad”,” he said.
On July 16, the feast of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Valles urged the entire nation to spend a day of prayer and penance invoking God’s mercy and justice on “those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country.”
The next three days, July 17 to 19, 2018, shall be dedicated to “fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.” /with reports from Rosalie O. Abatayo and USJ-R Intern Zena Magto
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