More cops deployed in shootout site
MORE police will be deployed in Sitio St. Michael, Barangay Pajac, Lapu-Lapu City, site of last Wednesday’s bloody shootout which claimed the lives of seven armed men believed to be involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Two of those killed were also tagged as suspects in the killing last Sept. 15 of aviation student Kristian Saldavia.
“Kanang St. Michael, critical na nga area. Dugay na ko nakadawat og mga reklamo ni ana. Gihagit pa gani mi nga mosulod didto kay makig pinusilay sila (gunmen) namo,” said Senior Superintendent Lemuel Obon, director of the Lapu-lapu City Police Office (LLCPO).
(St. Michael is a critical area. We have long received reports and complaints about the people there. We were even challenged to go into the area because these gunmen are willing to engage us in a shootout.)
Obon said he deployed two teams during their operation on Wednesday night to make sure that the suspects will have no room for escape.
He also claimed that none of the around 30 operatives who pursued the suspects were harmed in the operation.
Among those killed were Abundio de la Torre Jr., Allan de la Torre, Mohaimen Conda Mauyag, a certain Jovan, Shainoden Dimasimpan, a certain Mantak, and Manuel Pepito.
Dimasimpan and Jovan were facing murder charges for the death of Saldavia, an Indiana Aerospace University student.
The same group is also believed to be behind the killing of a security guard in Barangay Basak.
SWAT on patrol duty
Obon said that murder suspects in the city would normally head for St. Michaels to hide.
The police chief revealed that Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams and city mobile forces are now deployed in the area 24/7.
Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) said that he is willing to cooperate should the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) step in to investigate.
Sinas is confident that what happened was a legitimate police operation.
Won’t take action
Meanwhile, relatives of the seven fatalities told Cebu Daily News that they are not interested in filing a case against the police.
The relatives said their immediate concern is to bury their dead especially their Muslim kin who are supposed to be buried as soon as possible as mandated by Islamic law (“shariah”).
But Fe Laum, the live-in partner of Pepito, insisted that her partner was not involved in illegal drugs or any illegal activities.
She said that Pepito was just an ordinary taho and puto vendor.
Meanwhile, the seven persons invited for questioning were already released after a verification was made on their background, except for a minor who was said to be with the group responsible for the killing of Saldavia.
Mayor Paz Radaza also warned bad elements to leave her city as the police and her administration will not stop from going after them.
She also commended the police for “neutralizing these bad elements and for identifying the persons responsible for the killing of the IAU student.”
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