2 EX-COPS, JAIL GUARD SLAIN

By Benjie Talisic, Nestle L. Semilla, Paul Lauro and Rosalie Abatayo |November 25,2018 - 10:32 PM

Alice Castañares shows the photo of her husband Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center jail officer Jessie Castañares who was killed by motorcycle-riding men at dawn on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, along Happy Valley St., Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Two former policemen were the latest victims in the fresh incidents of violence in Talisay City on Sunday.

They were identified as retired SPO1 Edgar Causon and retired SPO4 Ferdinand “Dindo” Navalez, both 54 years old.

Initial police reports indicated that the victims were on board a motorcycle just outside of a mall along N. Bacalso Ave., Barangay Bulacao, Talisay City, shortly after 6 p.m., where they just had coffee, when a man approached and pumped bullets at them.

The two former policemen succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds on the head and different parts of the body.

Niebo Causon, 26, the son of slain ex-cop Causon, rushed to the crime scene and was still in a daze when he talked to reporters.

“Wala mi kahibawo nganong gipatay ang akong papa kay maayong tawo na (I don’t know why my father was killed since he was a good man),” Niebo told Cebu Daily News.

Causon retired just last year and was assigned at the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), according to his son. Navalez was assigned at the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) before he retired.

Earlier on Sunday, a jail guard was also killed by men riding on a motorcycle.

The death at dawn of Prison Guard 1 Jessie Castañares, a jail guard of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), may have been rooted on illegal drugs again. He was the third CPDRC jail guard killed this year.

CPDRC Warden Reynaldo Valmoria, in a phone interview on Sunday, said the name of Castañares had been mentioned to him in multiple occasions due to his alleged involvement in “irregularities.”

The killing of Castañares was the seventh high-profile killing in the last four days that were all linked to the illegal drugs trade.

Police authorities, on the other hand, have still to determine the motive behind the slaying of Causon and Navales.

While those responsible for the jail guard’s slaying remained unidentified, the first six deaths — all involving alleged drug pushers — occurred during separate police operations in Talisay City.

In the case of Castañares, Valmoria said drugs was again the likely motive, even as these cases were unrelated.

“Mobalik gyud ta sa motibo nga drugas sa akong tan-aw. Ma-connect man gud gihapon ni siya ni [Jerryfer] Peregrino,” Valmoria said.

(As I see it, it brings us back to drugs as the motive in the killing because we can still trace his connection to Jerryfer Peregrino.)

Jerryfer Peregrino was the high-profile inmate of CPDRC, detained for drug charges, who was killed with two jail guards Bernie Bayutas and Joel Tevez while on their way to court last September.

Castañares, according to Valmoria, was suspended for two months in February this year along with Tevez and 10 other jail guards for “illegal activities.” Valmoria said the jail guards were suspended for alleged involvement in the proliferation of drugs and other contraband in the penitentiary.

“Since my assumption in office last May 24, wala na gyud na siya na-memo for explanation and has never been referred to the Committed on Discipline and Investigation (CODI). Ako man na silang giingnan paglingkod nako nga kung unsa to inyong binuhatan sa una, kalimti kay magsugod ta’g bag-o,” said Valmoria.

(Since my assumption in office last May 24, he was neither a subject of a memo to explain nor was he referred to the Committee on Discipline and Investigation (CODI). I told them to forget their wrongdoings when I assumed office because I want them to have a fresh start.)

Authorities identified the victims of the shooting incident in Barangay Bulacao, Talisay City as retired SPO1 Edgar Causon and retired SPO4 Ferdinand Navalez. (CDN photo/ Junjie Mendoza)

Short-lived

But the “clean” record of Castañares was short-lived.

Just three months ago, Valmoria said he received a text message from a police officer of Pardo Police Station asking for the background of Castañares because of reports of his alleged involvement in drug activities in the area.

“Wala man gyud to’y formal nga inquiry because it was only through a text message nga nangutana regarding aning iyang mga activities kuno. Amo man gyud na siyang tawo pero I cannot tell unsa gyud ang mga activities niya sa gawas,” said Valmoria.

(There was no formal inquiry because the question was only posed in a text message. The police asked me regarding his activities. He was our personnel but I don’t have a clear grasp of his activities outside.)

Valmoria also said he decided to station Castañares as an escort to detainees confined at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) because he wanted him to be isolated from irregular activities inside the jail.

“In order to avoid them from being too familiar with their posts, I rotate them every two months. He was escorting inmates going out of the jail for court duties then I decided to put him there at the hospital to isolate him because I’ve heard rumors about him again,” Valmoria said in Cebuano.

Valmoria said Castañares’ shift in VSMMC started at 11 p.m. and ended at 7 a.m.

At 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night, Valmoria said Castañares was present in his post, according to the report of the jail officer in charge of inspection.

“Mao na nga nahibulong ko kon nganong naabot siya didto sa Happy Valley nga on duty man siya. Naa man siya pagroving gabii alas 11:30 (p.m.) Unya alas 2:30 [a.m.] Gitawagan na man lang ko nga naay jail guard nga nabirahan patay,” said Valmoria.

(I am puzzled why he was there at Happy Valley when he was supposedly on duty. He was there during the inspection at 11:30 p.m. But at 2:30 a.m. I received a call that one jail guard was shot dead.)

Lifeless

Castañares, 33, was lifeless when responders arrived at the crime scene at corners Limkakeng and Happy Valley Streets in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.

Senior Insp. Dexter Basirgo, the Guadalupe Police Station chief, said they received the shooting alarm at around 2 a.m. yesterday and found the body of Castañares bathe in blood.

“He was seen lying on his back facing upward at the center road,” said Basirgo.

Basirgo said Castañares was traversing the street when the suspects, riding in tandem on a motorcycle, suddenly appeared from behind and shot him several times.

The police were still trying to find out why Castañares was in the area when he was on duty guarding an inmate confined at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) at the time.

“He was supposed to be in VSMMC as escorting guard of a confined inmate,” said Basirgo.

Basirgo said a witness who saw the shooting while driving his car en route to Barangay Labangon described the suspects as both males, both wearing dark jackets and riding a blue scooter.

Based on the report from the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco), Castañares sustained about 14 gunshot wounds on his body, mostly on his back.

Basirgo said that based on how the victim was shot, they are looking at personal grudge as the reason behind the killing, even as illegal drugs could be another reason.

No death threats

Alice Castañares, the wife of the slain jail guard, said she had no idea who wanted her husband dead.

“Wala mana siyay kaaway. Wala sad na siya’y death threats nadawat. Kung moingon ka sa iyahang mga coworkers, maayo mana siya og relasyon sa iyahang mga katrabaho,” said Alice.

(He did not have any enemy. He did not receive any death threat. If you’ll say co-workers, he had good relationship with his colleagues.)

Alice said she would know about her husband’s activities as there were no secrets between them,

“Mosulti gyud na siya sa tanan nako. Wala na siya’y itago (He told me everything. He did not keep secrets from me),” said Alice.
Alice belied allegations linking her husband to illegal drugs, saying that Castañares was a very dedicated jail guard.

“Dili man gani na siya halos mo absent bisan nasakit na. Magsige pud na siya og overtime. So kung moingon ka trabaho, maayo g’yud na siya (He was rarely absent even if he were sick. He would often go on overtime. So it if were about his job, he was good at it),” said Alice.

In fact, Alice said, her husband had a flu on Saturday but still went to work.

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