THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) said the city remains “very safe” amid the series of murder cases last week.
The ICPO made the assurance in a meeting with Mayor Joe Espinosa III, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on July 16, 2018.
The meeting was called after the killings of an egg trader and a tricycle driver last week.
ICPO director Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas assured the Ilonggos that the city police are on top of the situation.
“For several months, our city has been peaceful. There were months when we have recorded zero index crimes. It is very unfortunate that these happened. But rest assured that the city police is working on solving the cases,” he said.
He said the ICPO has made the necessary adjustments to identify the perpetrators in the twin killings.
Biñas reported that from June to the second week of July 2018, five major crimes happened in the city, including the two murders last week.
On June 16, Saldy Consing, an alleged drug pusher was shot to death motorcycle-riding men at Barangay Railway, La Paz district.
On June 26, Police Officer 1 Dorben Acap Jr. survived an ambuscaded at Barangay Dulonan, Arevalo, Iloilo City. A fellow officer, PO2 Melvin Mocorro, was tagged as a suspect in the failed ambush.
On June 28, Jezreel Jalandoni, 15, succumbed to gunshot injuries while on board their car with his mother and elder brother at Barangay Magsaysay, LaPaz.
The car was about to enter their house at Laguda Subdivision when a certain Teopisto Castroverde Sebanta shot them.
On July 13, an egg trader was shot dead by riding-in-tandem suspects at the Iloilo Terminal Market in City Proper district.
The next day, a tricycle driver also died of gunshot wounds in the head and back inflicted by a lone gunman at Brgy. Baldoza, La Paz district.
Of the five cases, two are associated with personal grudges while the three are believed to be drug-related.
Biñas said crimes committed by motorcycle-riding suspects are isolated cases and should not be treated as alarming.
He said the drug-related incidents might be a result of “internal conflicts” in the business.
“They might think that there is someone from the group who is feeding information to the police,” he said.
Also, the city police did not find any pattern in the five incidents even as they denied the existence of an organized crime group in the city.
Biñas said they are monitoring new players in the illegal drug trade but he refused to reveal the names.
Meanwhile, Espinosa proposed to the ICPO to create task forces that will respond to emergencies, disasters, and calamities.
“The mayor did not give a timeline but we will discuss this during the peace and order council meeting. There really is a need for concerted efforts in responding to cases,” Biñas said.