HOW do you solve the problem of “riding-in-tandem assassinations?”
For starters, Senior Superintendent Martin Defensor, the newly installed Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) chief, said he would make the problem his primary concern.
“Solving killings involving motorcycle-riding men would be one of my priorities,” Defensor said following his assumption of office on Sept 12, 2018.
A few days before he assumed the ICPO top post, three killings involving motorcycle-riding suspects happened in the city.
On Sept. 7, riding-in-tandem gunmen shot and killed Rolando Puda and Don Azucena – two Tokhang surrenderers – in a span of 10 hours.
Azucena, 39, was killed by still unidentified men at Barangay Calumpang, Molo, Iloilo City at around 9:25 a.m. He died on the scene from multiple gunshot injuries on the body and head.
Meanwhile, Puda, 41, was killed near his house at Barangay Ingore, La Paz.
Four days later, a tricycle driver was also gunned down at around 5 p.m. at Zone 4, Barangay Ungka in Jaro district.
Gerardo Mamarion, 25, of Tacas village, Jaro was peppered with bullets several meters away from their house.
All three incidents were perpetrated even in the presence of bystanders. Also, all suspects wore helmets to hide their faces.
Defensor said Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, instructed him to solve the series murders in Iloilo City.
“We must level up our investigation. Definitely, we would be making this as a priority since it can affect the peace and order situation of the area,” he added.
Up until Wednesday, no one was charged for Friday’s twin assassinations.
On the other hand, Chief Inspector Tranquilino Querubin, Jaro police chief, said they have to check footages from closed circuit camera (CCTV) cameras near the scene where Mamarion was gunned down.
Initial investigation showed that five persons staged the attack against Mamarion. Three persons confronted him while the two served as look outs.
The victim allegedly went to a store to buy candies when one of the three suspects asked if he was “Togtog,” his nickname.
One of the suspects then pulled a caliber .45 pistol.
Querubin said Mamarion tried to seize the gun but the suspect overpowered him. The gunman then pumped bullets on different parts of his body.
The three suspects fled on board two motorcycles while the lookouts rode another motorcycle.
Querubin said he made an initial check and found out that the suspect was not on their list of illegal drug personalities.
He added that they are checking if he was on the BADAC (Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council) list of illegal drug personalities as there were reports that Mamarion was a Tokhang surrenderee.
He was also allegedly involved in the killing of two ice cream vendors— RJ Alumia, 31, and Andrew Igpaz, 23, both of Barangay Anilao, Pavia, Iloilo – more than two years ago.
Another suspect in the Pavia killings was also summarily executed after the incident.