PRO-7 pursues probe on Clarin mayor ambush-slay amid family’s disinterest to find culprits
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) will pursue an investigation into the ambush-slay of Clarin, Misamis Occidental Mayor David Navarro despite his family’s unwillingness to pursue the case.
The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Navarro, which was formed by PRO-7 director Police Brigadier General Valeriano De Leon, conducted a reenactment of the incident this Sunday afternoon, October 27, 2019, at M. Velez Street, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.
Navarro was being escorted by the police to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office past noon on Friday, October 25, when the patrol car he was riding was waylaid by a group of armed men who shot the mayor in the head at close range. Four others, including two policemen, were injured in the attack.
Navarro, who was in Cebu City supposedly to hold an executive-legislative planning session with his staff, was arrested on Thursday, October 24, after he was accused of mauling a massage therapist, an incident that was caught on the CCTV camera of the establishment. He was being brought to the prosecutor’s office for an inquest proceedings when the convoy of two police vehicles were attacked at M. Velez Street.
De Leon told reporters on Sunday that they would continue to investigate the case of Navarro to find the suspects and arrest them despite the previous statements of the family that they were no longer interested in finding the culprits and filing a complaint against them.
“Whether they will file a complaint or not we will pursue our investigation,” said De Leon.
On the other hand, De Leon said they would review the security plan in Cebu to prevent a repeat of an attack similar to what happened to Navarro.
Police were now looking at several possible motives in the daring broad daylight ambush-slay, such as the mayor’s alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade, and that his killing could have been planned and executed by a Misamis Occidental-based crime group.
Navarro, whom police found to have been in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of narco-politicians, had reportedly been attempting to clear his name long before he was killed.
Amid the violence that transpired this week, starting with the robbery in J Centre Mall in Mandaue City last Saturday night, October 19, 2019, De Leon assured that the public has nothing to be afraid of.
The mall heist also took the police by surprise. It happened at past 8 p.m. and staged by a group of armed men who easily disarmed the mall’s security guards before they proceeded to ransack two jewelry stores and a currency exchange store at the mall’s ground floor.
The armed robbers were however later spotted at the port of Bogo City in northern Cebu. Police who collared the suspects ended up killing four of the alleged robbers for resisting arrest, injured another and nabbed four others. The robbers were later linked to a crime group based in Ozamis City, also in Misamis Occidental.
The remains of Navarro, escorted by friends and family members, were transported by boat on Saturday night, October 26, to his hometown via Ozamiz City, which only about 22 kilometers from Clarin.
Princess Navarro Madarang, the mayor’s sister who was present when they were attacked, has initially raised the issue of finding justice for her slain brother but later opted to no longer speak to reporters about the incident, except to say that all their family wanted was just to bring his body home.
De Leon said they would be coordinating with the police in Misamis Occidental to help them with the investigation since they have not intercepted the group in the checkpoints that they immediately put up after the incident.
According to De Leon, the attack on Navarro appeared to be well-planned.
“Maaring pinag-aralan ito (The attack was probably well-planned),” said De Leon.
Also present in the reenactment was appointed commander of SITG Navarro, Police Colonel Gemma Vinluan, chief of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
Vinluan said they were still gathering all the evidences that would help solve the case.
She also defended why the police were unable to get the suspects despite the checkpoints set along possible exit points, saying it took time for the officers to form the group that facilitated the checkpoints./elb
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