Comelec gun ban did stop the killings in Cebu
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2019 - 12:00am

This coming Sunday Jan. 27 at 9 a.m., the formal start of the rehabilitation efforts in Manila Bay will finally start, following the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s upcoming announcement of establishments found non-compliant with the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2014. The DENR head office on Jan. 15, Secretary Roy Cimatu said that the announcement will be made on Jan. 27. This means that Bayside establishments found without necessary sewage treatment plants (STP) will be identified, notified, and fined, while those with STPs in place but found producing waste with fecal coliform beyond acceptable levels will face similar consequences. Sec. Cimatu said that this was also the first directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

As we earlier wrote, Manila Bay has become 330 times dirtier than the waters of Boracay Island. Fecal coliform levels are measured at most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters – roughly the volume of Yakult bottle. As per DENR standards, an MPN reading above 200 is considered unacceptable. Thanks again to the efforts of Commodore Robert “Bobby” Joseph who exhorted his friends and the government to join him in this clean up effort. It is going to be a historic day for Manila!

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Despite the Comelec gun ban, it seems that the criminal elements in Metro Cebu didn’t care to listen or wasn’t scared about this event, because for instance last Saturday, former Cebu prosecutor Mary Ann Castro was killed along Escario St. just when the procession was over. Then we also belatedly learned of the untimely death of 19-year-old Ashley Abad who collapsed while attending a pre-Sinulog Concert last Saturday thanks to the PNP for we had no means of communication because the cell sites were shut down. We only learned of this unfortunate incident last Monday.

Apparently, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) under the command of Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, PRO-7 director gave this report to the media. We also learned that Abad’s family was willing to cooperate with the police and the only way to find out how she died is to conduct an autopsy of her remains. Chief Supt. Sinas, PRO-7 director called on the family of Abad to file a complaint so that the police can formally conduct the investigation and find out the cause of her death. Now whether she drank some kind of drug-laced drink we would only know after an autopsy is conducted on her body. I read the Facebook statement of Mary Ann Solomon who was close to the family to respect their privacy and stop making uncalled for comments on FB.

According to Chief Supt. Sinas, once they have started their investigation, they would be calling on the organizer of the concert, the Plus63 Music and Arts Festival, as well as Abad’s friends who may have accompanied her during that time. I understand that the organizers requested the police to search the place for drugs before the concert started and it was negative. But then someone could have brought in something when the concert began.

Then two days after the Sinulog festivities were over a van carrying San Fernando, Cebu Mayor Lakambini Reluya, her husband, and four others was ambushed by unidentified assailants at around 5:30 p.m. in Barangay Linao, Talisay City. The Mayor sustained a gunshot wound in her arm and survived the ambush, but her husband, Ricardo Reluya Jr., driver Ricky Monterona, and one of the mayor’s staff members, Allan Bayot, were killed on the spot.

According to initial reports, the victims were heading to Cebu City from San Fernando town on board a white Super Grandia van when unknown gunmen riding another car suddenly fired shots at their vehicle in front of a lechon house on N. Bacalso Avenue in Barangay Linao. Apparently a certain Felix Bocog, a member of the police auxiliary force in Talisay, who happened to be tailing the van before the shooting, reported seeing a white Toyota Innova suddenly waylaying the victims’ van, before one of the Innova’s passengers fired at the driver’s side of the other vehicle. Bocog said further that the other men on board the Innova joined in shooting the victims using long firearms. The suspects were said to be wearing vests and bonnets. Riddled with bullets from M16 rifle, the van ended up on the street gutter.

Also on the same day there was a shooting that involved two men who police said reportedly fell in love with the same woman ended up dead. They were identified as Vanzant Navales and Edwin Bacaltos. Edwin’s son was also caught in the crossfire and died. So many people ended up dead in Metro Cebu just after the Sinulog Festival. These incidents only make us believe that Metro Cebu has become a killing field, that despite the Comelec gun ban, criminals don’t seem to care that there is a gun ban or not.

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