So many killings
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - January 23, 2019 - 12:00am

Last Saturday, state prosecutor Mary Ann Castro was shot and killed inside her car along Escario Street in what police killed was a “premeditated” crime. Police asked the public not to blame them. Then after the Sinulog parade, it was the only time that we learned that a 19-year-old girl collapsed while attending a pre-Sinulog concert last Saturday, thanks to the PNP for we had no means of communication because the cellphone signals were shut off.

 

Apparently, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) has named the 19-year-old female who died as Ashley Abad. 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 Superintendent Debold 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 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. Ashley Abad was about the same age as my first grandson and I would really like to know whether that group that joined the concert was into taking some kind of drugs.

A day later, there was a shooting that involved two men who police said reportedly fell in love with the same woman and ended up dead. They were identified as Vanzant Navales and Edwin Bacaltos. Edwin’s son was also caught in the crossfire and died. Abellana Police Station chief Edward Sanchez said Vanzant, his brother Vincent, and three other friends went to Bacaltos’s house on J. Alcantara Street in Barangay Sambag 1 early morning yesterday, armed with a Glock firearm. So many killings in Metro Cebu.

Then the following day, The FREEMAN reported that a van carrying San Fernando, Cebu Mayor Lakambini “Neneth” 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 “Nonoy” Reluya Jr., town economic and promotions officer Ricky Monterona, and driver Allan Bayot, were killed on the spot. Ricardo was president of the Association of Barangay Councils in San Fernando.

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. The suspects were said to be wearing vests and bonnets.

This incident only makes us believe that Metro Cebu has become killing fields, that despite the Comelec gun ban, criminals don’t seem to be scared. So it is high time for Sinas to assure Metro Cebu residents that these killings would not affect the entire population. I understand that Mayor Reluya is seeking reelection in the upcoming May polls, supposedly with her husband as running mate, so it is quite possible that the ambush was politically-motivated.

Incidentally last January 16, San Fernando barangay captain Johnny Arriesgado was killed by unknown gunmen while driving his car along the national highway of the town’s Barangay South Poblacion. A week earlier, in the same barangay, San Fernando councilor Reneboy Dacalos, 51, was also shot dead by unknown assailants inside the store of his brother-in-law. Perhaps the town of San Fernando should be placed under Comelec control because too many LGU officials have been killed. So many killings in Cebu.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

MARY ANN CASTRO
Philstar
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