CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Authorities are now investigating into the personality of the suspect, said to be a dealer of firearms, who figured in a shootout that caused the death of a police officer in the city’s uptown area in Barangay Carmen on Thursday, December 6.
Killed following an exchange of gunfire was SPO1 Sergs De Constantine Maceren, a member of the Special Operations Team of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit (RHPU-10) of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Highway Patrol Group (HPG), based in Barangay Patag here.
Maceren was with his colleagues, SPO2 Lyndie Baltazar and PO1 Joel Laurente, who followed then later flagged down a white Hyundai Accent after they noticed it has a suspicious license plate (ULI-448).
When Maceren and Baltazar approached the vehicle near a gasoline station, the driver, identified by police as Abdulrahim Batawi Adilao, fired at them using an M4 rifle installed with a silencer.
Both the law enforcers and the suspect were wounded in the gunfire that ensued. Adilao’s companion, a certain Joan Gomez, was arrested by responding officers.
Based on an identification card taken from Adilao’s possession, his address was in Mabalacat, Pampanga, but he and Gomez were said to have resided in a housing subdivision in Upper Carmen.
Police said Gomez alighted from the vehicle at a gasoline station minutes before the shootout.
Supt. Mardy Hortillosa, the city police spokesperson, said Maceren died in a hospital at around 5:30 in the afternoon on Thursday. Adilao lost his life at about 8:00 p.m. on the same day.
He said Gomez refused to give a statement to investigators since her arrest.
“We need to know from her (Gomez) what was their purpose,” Hortillosa said, referring to the possible motive of the suspects.
Hortillosa said the female suspect also denied any knowledge of the weapon that Adilao used to engage the highway patrol officers.
They will also investigate why Adilao was carrying a firearm inside his vehicle considering that Mindanao is under the state of martial law, and that civilians are not allowed to possess a high-powered weapon such as the one he used, Hortillosa said.
In an interview, Insp. Tawide Galleon, Carmen police deputy chief, said Adilao was an alleged owner of a chain of gun shops, including the one based in Marawi City.
Sources said that aside from the firearm stores, the suspect also owned other businesses in Northern Mindanao and elsewhere.
Hortillosa said they are also verifying the accounts of eyewitnesses who saw two other persons who may be Adilao’s cohorts who were seen fleeing from the crime scene prior to the shooting.
In a statement, Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo, the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG) director, said a deeper investigation is now under to verify the Adilao’s background, or if he has any link with the two violators arrested by Maceren and his co-officers recently.
A few days ago, two motorists tried to bribe Maceren in exchange for the release of their respective vehicles that were impounded for delinquent registration and unauthorized plate.
Maceren refused the bribe allegedly offered by Gary Ranalan and Franklin Jhon Ramos, both Cagayan de Oro residents, and instead filed criminal charges against them. (davaotoday.com)