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By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Nestle L. Semilla, Rene F. Alima July 30,2016 - 10:50 PM

Rogil Nudalo falls to the ground with his guitar after he was shot by an unknown assailant in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City Saturday dawn. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/P03 EDARIO MANATAD)

Rogil Nudalo falls to the ground with his guitar after he was shot by an unknown assailant in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City Saturday dawn. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/P03 EDARIO MANATAD)

Is a death squad similar to that in Davao City operating in Cebu City?

A carpenter was strumming his guitar while drinking with his two friends at a store in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City, before 1 a.m. on Saturday when a lone gunman approached him and shot him thrice in the chest.

Rogil Nudalo, 38, slumped on the ground with his guitar.

Before leaving the crime scene, the assailant left a handwritten note on a piece of cardboard that read: “Pusher, Carnapper, Akyat Bahay. . . (note from) CCDS.”

Witnesses later told the police that the gunman boarded a getaway motorcycle, which was driven by a male companion.

PO3 Cristobal Geronimo of the homicide section of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said they found the note near the victim’s body.

Police investigators were curious about what CCDS stood for, giving thought to the possibility that it came from a group named “Cebu City Death Squad.”

“This is the first time we saw a note with the mark CCDS on it. I don’t know what this means. It could be Cebu City Death Squad, but we couldn’t make any conclusions for now. We need to investigate,” he said.

Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said he ordered the CCPO to “seriously” look into the matter but cautioned investigators not to easily jump to conclusions.

“Anybody can write or claim that they are CCDS, but in reality, they are just cohorts of the victims. That’s why we’re very careful,” he said in a text message to the Cebu Daily News.

From July 27 to 29, an average of two suspected drug pushers were gunned down each day by unknown assailants in Cebu City.

All seven fatalities bit the dust after sundown. Most of them were killed by two men on board a single motorcycle.

‘Pusher ako!’

In Central Visayas, at least 19 suspected drug pushers were shot dead by still unidentified suspects since July 1.

The most recent casualties were two suspected drug pushers in Barangay Looc, Danao City in northern Cebu. Near their bodies was a note that read “Pusher Ako!”

Cebu Daily News tried but failed to reach Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña through the phone.

In 2004 to 2006, when Osmeña was mayor of Cebu City, vigilante-style killings were reported almost daily in local and national papers. Newspaper reports counted 168 victims. No suspect had been brought to court for lack of witnesses and complainants.

At that time, Osmeña offered a cash reward of P20,000 to policemen for every criminal they would “permanently disable and neutralize.”

He also formed the Hunter Team, an elite police unit whose task was to go after crime suspects in response to the series of robbery-killings that hit the city. Despite his strong stance against crimes, Osmeña had denied having a hand in the killings.

The executions stopped in the latter part of 2006 as Cebu prepared for the hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.

Now that the scene in 2004 is starting to recur, Councilor Dave Tumulak, chairperson of the city council’s peace and order committee, appealed to Taliño and Senior Supt. Joel Doria, Cebu City Police Office director, to investigate the series of killings and identify the supposed vigilantes.

“We don’t want to tolerate extrajudicial killings. As much as possible, an investigation should be made because it placed Cebu City in a bad light,” he said in a phone interview.

Tumulak appealed to those involved in the killings not to take the law into their own hands and let justice take its course.

“The series of killings in our city is alarming. I don’t want to see more people getting killed just like what happened a decade ago. I’m afraid innocent people will lose their lives due to wrong information given to vigilantes,” he said.

The series of vigilante-style killings, however, is not confined in Cebu City.

Danao City, too

In Danao City, two suspected drug pushers were gunned down by two unknown assailants who were wearing bonnets to conceal their identities.

Edzel Morillo, 32, and Jose Goree, 49, died of multiple gunshot wounds on the body.

Senior Insp. Alejandro Batobalonos, the city police chief, said the two victims were identified as drug dealers who had been requested to surrender to authorities when policemen conducted an Oplan Tokhang in Danao City.

However, he said, Morillo and Goree refused to cooperate.

Since July 1, at least four suspected drug pushers were killed by unidentified persons in Danao City.

But Batobalonos downplayed the presence of supposed vigilantes in their place.

“Maybe, there are just people who want to take advantage of the situation. We, law enforcers, are against extrajudicial killings,” he said.

In Davao City, where President Rodrigo Duterte served as mayor for several terms, a vigilante group known as the “Davao Death Squad” or DDS has been existing since 1998.

DDS was believed to be responsible for the death of 1,424 suspected criminals in the city from 1998 to 2015.

Some of the killers rode on motorcycles and gunned down their victims.

According to a 2009 report by Human Rights Watch, the victims were selected by the assailants because they were suspected of being drug dealers, child rapists, murderers and repeat offending criminals.

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TAGS: Akyat Bahay, Carnapper, Cebu City, crime, criminal, Danao City, drugs, illegal drugs, police, pusher, suspect, Talamban

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