Barely had Chief Supt. Patrocinio Commendador warmed his seat as director of the Police Regional Office when he was greeted with reports about the murder of Senior Insp. Jonas Tahanlangit, chief of police of Poro town, Camotes Island in Cebu.
The police officer was ambushed while headed back to base in Camotes by still unidentified assailants. He was with five people, not two as previously mentioned though the two have been identified and are recovering from wounds sustained in the attack.
The drug angle was raised though the details and the motive behind the ambush have yet to be confirmed by police. As a task force created to investigate the incident chases leads in the murder case, the incident had just made the job of securing the province just a little more difficult.
What needs to be established is if the people behind the murder are intent on parlaying their ill-gotten gains from drug trafficking activities into a having a stake in politics or the ongoing elections.
Whether they do so or not remains to be seen but Tahanlangit’s murder is a grim reminder of how drug syndicates operate and strike at a moment’s notice in places under the radar where crime is less likely to occur due to the greater chance of being identified, i.e., everyone knows anyone else there.
A small population that can easily identify outsiders is no guarantee of swift identification and arrest of assailants. In fact if even the mayor, Luciano Rama Jr. doesn’t know well enough his police chief well enough to determine the motive behind the killing then the police really have their work cut out for them.
While the perpetrators may be professional killers, those engaged in the drug trade that were arrested were not the gun-toting, drug-packing goons some people make them out to be.
They can range from being teachers who sell these addictive, destructive substances to their own students to earn extra income or support their own habits, to families who sell the drugs as their livelihood.
We’re not even talking about incumbent public officials, politicians or police officers who are funded by these drug traffickers and they’re not even confined to the big cities.
Though the task force is headed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Police Regional Office have no wish to be relegated to the sidelines of the probe. In this regard, Commendador and his people should not only crack down on the people responsible for the death of one of their own but also clean house to see if any of their ranks are providing protection to these criminals.
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