PNP asks for time to solve killings

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram and Benjie B. Talisic July 21,2018 - 10:25 PM

The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) is asking the public to be patient and to give the police time to solve the recent spate of mostly brazen killings in Metro Cebu.

PRO-7 urged the public to give investigators enough time to dig deep into these incidents, and to arrest the perpetrators.

The public call came a day after separate broad daylight ambuscades in Talisay City that resulted in the death of four people — 23-year-old Lagtang Barangay Councilman Art Stephen Bas and three prisoners of the Talisay City Jail.

Supt. Reyman Tolentin, the spokesperson of PRO-7, told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview yesterday that the police were doing their best to identify the persons behind the killings.

“There’s no timeline on the investigations. These things do take time, of course. But we assure everyone that we are closely working on these cases to be solved,” said Tolentin.

He added that all cases involving killings should not be generalized as related incidents, as he pointed out that the motives behind each case were different from each other.

Cebu, Tolentin stressed, remains safe since the killings were “isolated” and should not alarm the public.

Hindrance

Tolentin said that in most of these cases, the lack of witnesses and evidence hindered the police from solving the crime incidents.

He also underscored the roles of witnesses in helping investigators identify and track down gunmen, since the police could not just arrest any person without concrete evidence.

“Naay uban cases nga walay nakakita. Pero og naay nakakita, dili sila ganahan madisturbo. As much as possible, mo-cooperate unta sila nato but dili sad ta kapugos dayon because that’s their sentiments also,” explained Tolentin.

(There are some cases where there were no witnesses. But if there were witnesses, they didn’t like to be disturbed. As much as possible, they should cooperate with us but that’s also their sentiments, we cannot force them into testifying.)

Killings

Since Monday, July 16, police reports collated by CDN showed that 16 people have died in separate shooting incidents, both perpetrated by unknown assailants and those conducted by the police in Metro Cebu.

Of the 16 who died, seven of them were gunned down by unidentified suspects, all of whom have remained at large.

Eight were killed during a simultaneous Oplan Silhig conducted by law enforcers in the cities of Talisay (six died), and in the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (two fatalities) last Wednesday, July 18.

A drug suspect, identified as Gewey Gestopa, died in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City, in a drug bust led by the police on Friday evening.

The most recent fatality was 17-year-old Syle Cantillep, a minor residing in Purok Rose in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City.

Investigators from the Subangdaku Police Station said he was shot dead by two unidentified assailants on board a motorcycle along G. Ouano Street in Mandaue City at past 1 a.m. on Saturday.

Cantillep was declared dead on the spot after he sustained gunshot wounds on the different parts of the body.

Senior Insp. James Conaco, Subangdaku police chief, said Cantillep was playing on the street with his friends when the suspects suddenly appeared and shot the victim several times. The suspects then fled the scene after the shooting.

Police found six spent cartridges and two slugs of .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.

“Nag follow-up pa mi aron mahibaw-an unsa gyud ang motibo (We are still conducting a follow-up operation to determine the motive),” said Conaco.

CCTV footages

Meanwhile, Supt. Marlu Conag, the chief of the Talisay City Police Office, told CDN in a separate interview that they were now obtaining footages of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras from establishments surrounding the area of Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) where Bas was waylaid and shot multiple times.

“So far, everything that points to the gunmen was just hearsays. There’s still no witnesses who want to help us in the investigation. That’s why we decided to get copies of CCTV footages,” said Conag.

Conag added that they were still not discounting the possibility that Bas was a victim of a mistaken identity.

Bas, who was about to graduate with a course in mechanical engineering, was driving a white Ford Everest when he was killed.

“The vehicle’s windows were heavily tinted. That still remains a possibility especially we’re still waiting for the confirmation from the LTO (Land Transportation Office) as to whose name it was registered,” he added.

In earlier interviews, investigators said the vehicle could have been registered under the name of one of Bas’ parents.

Bas is the grandson of incumbent Talisay City Councilor Arturo Bas, and the son of former Lagtang Barangay Captain Ferdinand Bas.

Ferdinand was included in the “narco-list” of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), but he had denied allegations linking him to the drug trade.

In April this year, Ferdinand was arrested during a police raid where several firearms were seized from his house in Barangay Lagtang, Talisay City. But eventually, he was freed from detention.

Justice

The Bas family called on authorities to help them find justice.

In a statement released by the family on Saturday morning, lawyer Rocky Bas, the uncle of the victim, said the untimely death of Art brought them so much pain.

“He was taken away from us in such a brutal and merciless manner. He has not disobeyed the law and neither did he make enemies in his young life,” Rocky said.

CDN visited the Bas residence yesterday morning but Art’s parents begged off from answering queries from the media, saying they wanted privacy for now. / WITH CORRESPONDENT NORMAN MENDOZA

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TAGS: asks, killings, PNP, solve, TIME

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