Who between a barangay official’s bodyguard and a police officer instigated the shooting that led to the officer’s death near the barangay Tejero hall at past 8 am Monday?
In charging the bodyguard of Barangay Tejero Councilman Jessielou Cadungog with killing PO3 Eugene Alcain Calumba, the police have as their witness the motorcycle driver and anti-crime volunteer Michael Banua, who was caught and beaten up by tanods after the incident.
It was pointed out by Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, Police Regional Office (PRO-7) chief, that Calumba was allegedly shot at by someone from Cadungog’s vehicle as he conducted surveillance on illegal drug activities in Barangay Tejero.
Oh and the kicker was that Cadungog reportedly owns the gun used by SPO1 Adonis Dumpit, who died in an alleged shootout with agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) during an anti-drug operation.
The problem lies in the circumstances surrounding Calumba’s death. Sinas insisted that there were no witnesses who could positively identify that it was Calumba who tried to ambush Cadungog while the officer rode on a motorcycle driven by Banua.
But there were tanods who caught Banua as he tried to speed off after the police officer is said to have been shot by Cadungog’s bodyguard.
As to whether or not they witnessed the whole incident and if there is any security camera footage to bolster the police’s claim, it has yet to be known as of this writing.
But the reported manner through which Calumba tried to deal with Cadungog is a strong and telling indicator of how the government’s war on illegal drugs is being waged and it screams of summary execution.
The details are all too familiar to ignore: masked men (or in this case, men wearing handkerchiefs to cover their faces) riding a motorcycle, shooting their targets point blank with few if any witnesses, then leaving their victims in the dust.
Except that in this case the target fought back and the assailant was identified.
If there is evidence on Cadungog, shouldn’t he be arrested instead? Why did it have to end the way it did, with violence? The burden of proof lies not just on Cadungog but on the police.
As it is, the police appear to be trying to extricate themselves out of the hole they find themselves in by projecting Cadungog as the perpetrator without any substantial evidence other than a testimony from an anti-crime volunteer who may be arm twisted to back up their claim.
It remains to be seen if an independent thorough investigation can be done on the incident, let alone if authorities can provide security to Cadungog who is now a marked man.
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