By: Benjie Talisic, Delta Dyrecka Letigio, Nestle Semilla December 23,2018 - 10:44 PM


PO2 Romeo Jumalon


A policeman who worked directly under now retired police general Marcelo Garbo in 2011 was shot dead outside his home at Sitio Central, Barangay Pit-os in Cebu City at dawn on Sunday.

Chief Insp. Alvin Llamedo, the commander of the Talamban police station, identified the victim as PO2 Romeo Jumalon, who was reported to have worked as a driver or an aide of retired Philippine National Police Deputy Director General Garbo during the time when Garbo headed the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) from 2011 to 2013.

Garbo was among the police generals tagged as drug protectors or ‘narco-generals’ by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2016.

The other generals included retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot, now the mayor of the town of Daanbantayan in Cebu; Police Director Joel Pagdilao; and Chief Superintendents Edgardo Tinio and Bernardo Diaz.

Garbo is believed to have left the country and his whereabouts is now unknown.

Before then, he had strongly belied the allegations leveled against him by the President, saying it was tainted with politics as he had openly campaigned for Mr. Duterte’s rival for the presidency, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas. Garbo retired from the police service two months before the May 2016 elections.

Llamedo said they were still investigating the nature of Jumalon’s work under Garbo – whether or not he was an aide or a driver of the retired general, and if his having worked under Garbo was related to his death.

The Talamban Police Station, after coordinating with PRO-7 Regional Personnel Holding Administrative Office (RPHAO), where Jumalon was assigned since 2016, learned that Jumalon was just recently transferred to the PRO-7 Regional Service Group.

Four-year gap

Llamedo said they found out that during the term of Garbo, Jumalon went on an absence-without-leave (AWOL) for months, which became the reason for his dismissal from the police service in 2012.

Jumalon filed a motion for reconsideration and was allowed to return to the police force in 2016.

“The period between his dismissal and return to service is the critical point of our investigation because we need to know what he was doing in that four-year gap. This may be the key to his death,” Llamedo told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview on Sunday.

Llamedo said their investigation would continue today, December 24, as they were still waiting for the offices of the PRO-7 to open so they could access the records of Jumalon’s case in 2012.

“We cannot determine as of the moment the details of his administrative cases because the offices responsible for the records of Jumalon are closed on a Sunday,” said Llamedo.

Llamedo said they were also looking into the period that Jumalon was working for Garbo, as it could hold the answers to why Jumalon went AWOL during Garbo’s term.

“They say he was a driver. Others say he was an aide. We still don’t know but something must have happened during that time that prompted him to go AWOL,” said Llamedo.

Llamedo said that the reason for Jumalon’s AWOL could either be personal or work-related and if Jumalon worked closely with Garbo, they would need to establish how closely Jumalon was involved with Garbo’s activities.

Masked man

Jumalon was preparing to attend the Misa de Gallo with his wife when, at around 4 a.m. of December 23, a masked person approached him and shot him multiple times.

Jumalon’s wife, who requested anonymity for safety reasons, told Cebu Daily News that she was inside the car while Jumalon was checking on the engine of their vehicle when she saw a gray car that stopped right before her husband.

She said a masked man then came out of the gray car and began firing at her husband.

She said she instinctively ducked to protect herself.

“Wa gyud ko nagdahom. Wala siyay gisulti nako ba. Naka-notice na ko naay sigeg tawag-tawag niya atong gabhiona pero wa gyud ko nagdahom nga mahitabo ni. (I did not expect this. He did not say anything to me. I noticed that he got several calls from someone that night but I did not expect this),” said Jumalon’s wife.

The wife expressed disappointment that the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) did not arrive, as she was convinced that Jumalon could have been saved if he was given immediate medical assistance.

She also said that it took 20 minutes to 30 minutes before the police arrived at the scene.

“Wa gyud na abot ang ERUF. Kung naabot pa unta sila, madala pa unta akong bana. Pero di gyud nila (tanods) pahilabtan nako kay wala na daw. (The ERUF never arrived. Had they arrived, my husband could have been saved. However, the tanods would not let me touch my husband as they said he was already dead),” she said.

She said that their family’s Christmas would never be the same without her husband, whom she spent the last 19 Christmases with.

Instead, she will be watching over his wake together with their four children at their Pit-os home.

Dead on the spot

Llamedo said that the first responders to the incident were the barangay tanods (village watchmen) from the Pit-os barangay hall, which was barely a kilometer away from the Jumalon residence.

Llamedo said the tanods agreed that Jumalon was already dead when they arrived, as some internal organs had spilled on the pavement.

“In that scenario, the tanods or any first responders could decide to no longer call the ERUF. The person was clearly dead on the spot,” said Llamedo.

Llamedo said he understood that Mrs. Jumalon was still in shock and any wife would cling to hope that their husband could still be alive.

“She has all the right to complain but we tried everything during the incident. After all, he was a fellow policeman,” said Llamedo.

PRO-7 directive

Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, the director of PRO-7, has given the directive to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to investigate the death of Jumalon.

“Dig deeper,” Sinas urged the CCPO.

Sinas said that PRO-7 is ready to support the grieving family of Jumalon and that the Philippine National Police would be providing burial assistance to the family.

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TAGS: Christmas, mourning

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