Cebu News

Slain man also a ‘hired killer’: ‘Pusher’ dead; cop wounded

Bryner L. Diaz - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A wanted person and suspected drug pusher was killed while a policeman was wounded in a shootout in Sitio Cambat-an, Barangay Sta. Cruz in San Francisco, Camotes Island Tuesday afternoon.

Policemen were serving an arrest warrant against Alex Otida when he allegedly opened fire on them.

Aside from being wanted for illegal drugs, Otida was allegedly also a gun-for hire. He was tagged in the killing of one Arnel Argallon and the wounding of Police Officer Demar Muaña during a police operation July last year.

Cheryl Ramirez, Otida’s live-in partner, was taken into custody after the police found a KG9 submachine pistol with a magazine loaded with 13 bullets; extra KG9 magazine with 16 bullets; two .45 caliber pistols; and 70.1 grams of shabu worth P826,118 inside the house.

Superintendent Rodolfo Albotra, Cebu Police Provincial Office-Provincial Intelligence Branch chief, identified the injured policeman as Police Officer 3 Anthony Adizas.

Adizas considered the firefight a close call, adding that the lyrics of popular Cebuano Christmas song Kasadya, the part which says “Bag-ong tuig, bag-ong kinabuhi,” now rings truer to him with the start of the new year, after ending up injured and not dead following the shootout. 

Albotra said that around 4:45 p.m. last Tuesday, Adizas, Senior Police Officer 1 Renante Solante, and members of San Francisco Police Station served a warrant of arrest against Otida, who was wanted for possession of illegal drugs.

Albotra said that when Adizas barged into the house, Otida was already pointing a gun at them.  Otida reportedly opened fire, resulting in an exchange of gunfire at close range.

Adizas managed to pull Ramirez, who was in bed, out of the way and brought her outside during the shootout.

“Instead of giving himself sa operative, nisukol ni siya (Otida). Kung wala nabunlot ang babaye patay gyud ni siya, kay ang line of fire naa gyud sa pultahan,” Albotra said.

In a separate interview, Adizas said he was carrying an M4 assault rifle when they were fired upon. Since it was a close quarter battle, making it difficult for him to return fire using the rifle, he decided to use his Glock9 pistol.

He said he hid by the door, exposing only his pistol and hand, and fired blind towards Otida, who was allegedly firing indiscriminately at the policemen.

After several minutes of gunfight, the police noticed that Otida was no longer firing his weapon, so Adizas and Solante cautiously went inside the room to check on the suspect.

They found Otida already lying on the floor covered with blood, so they brought him to the Ricardo Maningo Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Adizas said he still managed to ask Solante after the encounter if he was unharmed before he felt his right hand getting numb.

He said it was then that he noticed blood in his hand. During the exchange of gunfire, a bullet hit Adizas’ service firearm, damaging the pistol.

Splinters tore the nail off his index finger, which is used to pull the gun’s trigger, and also caused a wound in his palm, while the handle of the gun was damaged where the bullet struck.

When the police searched the house, they confiscated six large packs of white crystalline substance believed to be shabu, a medium pack containing the same substance, 17 small packs of suspected shabu, digital weighing scale, drug paraphernalia, 13 bullets, magazine with 16 bullets, and two .45 pistols.

The policemen also recovered five shells of a 9mm pistol that Albotra believed were that of bullets fired from the suspect’s KG9 pistol.

Albotra said the operation was made possible with the assistance of residents in the area, who supplied them with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts and illegal activities.

Albotra said that prior to the operation, neighbors complained that Otida sells drugs and indiscriminate fires his gun.

Based on PIB’s monitoring, Otida could allegedly dispose of at least 150 grams of shabu per week and was operating in the whole Camotes Island with San Francisco as his base of operation.

Meanwhile, Ramirez would be subjected to questioning and may be set free if she could prove to authorities that she had nothing to do with Otida’s illegal activities and the illegal drugs found in their house. — / RHM (FREEMAN)












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