THE attempts of police officials to turn the tables on former Barangay Captain Jessielou Cadungog only showed one thing: The police may have a hand in the killings in Metro Cebu.
This was the statement of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña who expressed disgust over moves of local police officials to put a spin on the attempt on the life of Cadungog, now councilor of Tejero.
“The police are very much involved in these crimes. I suspect that is what’s happening now in the city,” he told reporters.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do and I’m taking a stand here. I’m just stating what I see, speaking clearly with a clear conscience but the police right now, they don’t look good,” he added.
Osmeña accompanied Cadungog to the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7)at the Capitol Site shortly after two men allegedly tried to shoot the official’s Toyota FJ Cruiser along T. Padilla Extension in Cebu City on Monday morning.
Cadungog was not inside the vehicle when the shooting incident took place.
His bodyguard, who drove the vehicle, shot dead the alleged assailant who was on board a motorcycle.
The gunman turned out to be a police officer — PO3 Eugene Alcain Calumba, a member of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Parian Police Station in Cebu City.
The driver of the motorcycle, Michael Banua, tried to run but was caught by barangay tanods and bystanders.
But Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), later explained that Calumba was conducting surveillance operations in Barangay Tejero due to the prevalence of drugs in the village.
Sinas, instead, turned the tables on Cadungog whom he called a suspect in the killing of Calumba.
Osmeña found Sinas’ allegation “ridiculous.”
“If Jingjing (Cadungog) and his bodyguard wanted to ambush them (Calumba and Banua), why do it while on board a vehicle?” he asked.
“The suspect here is the police, not (Cadungog or his bodyguard). I don’t like what’s happening and the police is clearly the suspect. I don’t think they are immune from public scrutiny,” he added.
Cadungog owned the gun recovered by the police from SPO1 Adonis Dumpit, a suspected drug courier who was killed in a drug bust in Bohol on June 27.
“If Cadungog was a target of the police simply because he owned the gun Dumpit had, then why don’t they include me as well? Dumpit is my friend and I will fight that,” Osmeña said.
If the local police would insist that Cadungog was the suspect in Monday’s shooting incident, Osmeña said “they were lying through their teeth.”
“And I’m fed up with comments like that,” Osmeña said.
He has repeatedly called on authorities to address the spate of killings in Cebu — most of which remain unsolved.
“I think there’s some kind of pattern (of these killings). Let’s just wait for Supt. (Royina) Garma to come back and sort this out. Remember she was the head of the CIDG-7 (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas) here before so she cannot say she doesn’t know what’s going on with CIDG,” Osmeña said.
The CIDG-7 has taken custody over Banua who is now considered a witness by the police instead of being regarded as a suspect.
NBI-7 Assistant Director Dominador Cimafranca said they received directives from their higher ups to secure Cadungog or his bodyguard.
“The instruction is to safeguard and protect them considering that there is an ongoing probe,” he said.
“We will look into the matter,” he added.