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Cebu News

Killing of PDEA officer Rallos: Drugs, work as motives

May B. Miasco, Ermida Q. Moradas, Mae Clydyl L. Avila - The Freeman
Killing of PDEA officer Rallos: Drugs, work as motives
Chief Insp. Maria Theresa Macatangay, the chief of the Abellana Police Station, said it is “essential and necessary” to look into the drug connection because a large pack of shabu was found inside the luggage compartment of Rallos’ Toyota Altis.
File

CEBU, Philippines —  Police are eyeing the possible involvement in the illegal drug trade and other work-related matters as motives in the killing of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent Baby “Earl” Rallos last Friday afternoon.

 

Chief Insp. Maria Theresa Macatangay, the chief of the Abellana Police Station, said it is “essential and necessary” to look into the drug connection because a large pack of shabu was found inside the luggage compartment of Rallos’ Toyota Altis.

"We are able to obtain items believed to be shabu… it came from one point to another so mahulog nga courier… posible nga nag-transport. I am not concluding anything yet though," Macatangay said.

Macatangay and Supt. Reyman Tolentin, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office - 7, said that if it proven that the pack of drugs found in Rallos’ car was undocumented, it can be deduced that Rallos was a courier.

This is because, Tolentin said, being a member of an agency that leads in the drug war does not entitle Rallos or any member of PDEA to bring undocumented illegal substances.

Macatangay said the investigation will determine, among others, how the pack of shabu got into Rallos’ vehicle. It will also trace recent and previous cases Rallos handled to check if he offended anyone in the performance of his duties.

"Sa work as a drug enforcer, it can't be denied nga naa maglagot. Posible nga katong nadakpan niya sauna," she said.

Probe Points

Macatangay said two witnesses have come forward and issued statements to investigators.

The witnesses reportedly saw two men on board a motorcycle drive after Rallos’ vehicle as the agent’s car was entering Escario Street from the smaller street right beside the provincial Capitol compound.

From a bakeshop nearby where they waited, the suspects reportedly drove right beside Rallos’ car on the driver’s side and fired shots from there. Despite already getting hit several times, Rallos managed to exit his car on the passenger’s side but the suspects went back to hit and shot him again multiple times.

Results of the medical-legal examination have not been released as of yesterday.

Aside from the two witnesses, Macatangay said they have also retrieved footage from a closed circuit television camera from a house nearby. The two men on board a motorcycle driving near Rallos car as captured by the camera are now considered persons of interest.

Investigators are also assessing if Rallos was able to fire back at his attackers. The three firearms found in his car – a .45 pistol, an M4 rifle, and a .9mm pistol – have been submitted to the PNP crime laboratory for tests.

Macatangay said they will find out if the guns were licensed to the PDEA agent.

Rallos’ phone will be checked for possible leads.

Fair Probe

Macatangay said the case will be dealt with fairly.

"There is pressure to solve every case but we are treating each case the same; not just because PDEA officer siya. Would we feel the need to expedite the case? We see to it that we treat every case fairly," she said.

Tolentin, meanwhile, urged PDEA to help and cooperate in the investigation. He said backtracking cases and interviewing Rallos’ colleagues in the agency will help greatly in shedding light on the incident.

In a statement released yesterday, PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said he is “deeply saddened by the loss of one of our agents.”

“The odds of being injured, wounded, or worst killed, continue to stack against us. Sometimes, we are unsuspecting preys to our unseen enemies,” he said.

He said PDEA is not discounting the possibility that the shooting was work-related.

“Rallos’ death reflects the actual and real risks that drug law enforcers face, while they are on-duty and even when off-duty. PDEA condemn this dastardly act and vow that it will not dampen its resolve to intensify further the government’s fight against the menace of illegal drugs,” he added.

Condemnation

The Commission on Human Rights - 7 also condemned Rallos’ killing.

“The CHR condemns in the strongest term the killing of Mr. Rallos,” said CHR-7 Director, Atty. Arvin Odron, as he called on the public to be more vigilant.

“What a sad weekend news we've got. With all these indiscriminate killings, I believe Cebu is no longer a safe place to live with… CHR-7 calls on the Cebuanos to be vigilant amidst this blatant disregard of the rule of law and human rights,” he said.

What CHR-7 fears, he said, is that ordinary people get dragged into the mess, like what happened to habal-habal driver Marcelo Autentico who was hit in the cheek by a stray bullet during the Rallos shooting.

Autentico is recuperating in the hospital.

“Nowadays, people with firearms, or even people with special skills to use firearms, even become the subject of an easy prey among lawless elements. How much more for ordinary people?” Odron said.

Meanwhile, Councilor Pastor Alcover, Jr. called on Mayor Tomas Osmeña to act on the killings here.

“Cebu City is no longer Queen City of the South. It’s now a criminal city. Gihimo nila’g impyerno ang Cebu. How can we attract investors? I challenge the mayor to do something to preserve peace and order in the city,” he told The FREEMAN.

Osmeña, for his part, said the city is already “unsafe” because criminals are no longer afraid to commit crimes and kill people.

Councilor Joel Garganera urged for continued investigation.

Osmeña said earlier he will give a chance for the new city police chief to deal with the situation.

Alcover said he will pass a resolution to ask Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to ask all churches to conduct a nightly vigil to stop the killings.

“Every night na nga vigil. That’s my plan for the next session para just to show to the administration that enough is enough,” he said.

Alcover’s fellow councilor, Sisinio Andales, however, does not agree with Alcover’s description.

He said it is pronouncements such as those made by Alcover that discourage the people and give them the impression that authorities can no longer do anything.

“It seems that the situation is unbearable and desperate remark. Our businessmen are not affected in these killings as businesses continue to grow and progress,” Andales said.

A former mediaman, Rallos was promoted recently to Investigation Agent 3, just two steps away from becoming assistant regional director. Rallos was also one of the recipients of the PDEA-7’s Employee of the Year award. — with Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/JMO  (FREEMAN)

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