Duterte warns against syndicates over killings

Jun. 09, 2014

DAVAO CITY – Two killings including a lawyer and  a restuarant owner in Davao City prompted Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to issue a warning on criminals and guns-for-hire believed to be hiding in the city.

“Don’t think you know everything, you syndicates from Panabo, Tagum, from Bansalan. Do not ever believe that you monopolize evil here. Don’t believe you are the only demons out there, there are plenty of us whose father is Satan. If I caught up with you, these (Commission on Human Rights) would be looking for your body behind Samal Island. Pray nobody will find you,” Duterte said in his Sunday televison program.

The mayor went on to identify where these syndicates are hiding.

“You are perhaps staying in Toril near the sea, in NHA Mintal, or there in Agdao known as Baryo Patay. I’m calling you out.  It’s peaceful here, food is not expensive. Live well, don’t destroy your bodies unless you want a hole in your head.  It’s better you leave this place. If you are here, you’ll be dead, unless you get me first,” he said.

Duterte  made this comment after being asked on security concerns following two incidents of killings in a span of seven days.

On the eve of May 30, lawyer Emmanuel Acuña, 31, was shot by an unknown gunman along the parking area of the Bank of the Philippine Islands in Lanang, Davao City.  He died two days later at the hospital on June 2, succumbing to fatal shots in the head.

Meanwhile, restaurant owner Ramon Garcia, 67, was found dead in a 20-meter cliff in Malalag town of Davao del Sur on the eve of June 6 with multiple stab wounds and his mouth gagged with masking tape. His car was found in Malungon, Sarangani.

The mayor said of the two cases, Garcia’s murder was immediately solved as the pieces of information were easy to gather.

The mayor said authorities were able to review closed-circuit television footages that tracked Garcia.  He was last seen with one of the suspects, Daisy Cachapera, leaving a hotel on Friday morning. More footages tracked Garcia’s vehicle heading towards Davao del Sur.

They were also able to identify Cachapera through her Facebook account and gathered information about her and her boyfriend Ariel John Llawan.  Cachapera was working at a golf club in Davao City.

The suspects were later nabbed in Sulop through the coordination with Davao del Sur police.

Llawan, who was caught with possession of Garcia’s jewelry, told authorities he was jealous with Garcia for escorting his girlfriend.

Charges of homicide with robbery will be filed on the couple.

Garcia owns the restaurant Nanay Bebeng’s restaurant chain.

But the mayor said Acuña’s case proved difficult as they have to connect the motive of his killing.

Police suspect the lawyer’s killing revolved around Acuña’s girlfriend, a BPI Lanang employee who broke up last year with Kidapawan City-based businessman Francis Gerald Ang.

Ang had showed up to the Davao City Police Station with his lawyer to deny involvement in Acuna’s death.

But Davao City Police Chief Vicente Danao said they are still pursuing this angle, and advised the businessman to further cooperate with authorities and refrain from hiding.

The mayor said the police has to come out with more hard evidence.

“The problem on Acuña’s case is there’s no hard evidence.  We can say the case has principal by inducement or by conspiracy. But it’s hard to prove. We only have the personality whom we suspect. Unless they come out and voluntarily confess, or we torture the suspects, do you want that?” he said.

Police authorities looked into the angle that Acuña’s death is linked to his former work at the Public Attorney’s Office in Manay town of Davao Oriental.  But PAO regional director Francis Calatrava told them that Acuña has not handled sensitive cases, and resigned after two years to pursue private practice and real estate business.

Acuña’s death has stirred outrage from lawyers’ community in Davao. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao Chapter urged Duterte to expedite the case and prosecute the killers.

The Ateneo de Davao Law School and Alumni, and the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao issued statements calling for the end of the culture of impunity.

Acuña took up management accounting course in Ateneo de Davao University before proceeding to law school. He passed the law bar exams in 2011.  He was also a staffwriter of AdDU’s campus publication, Atenews.

Duterte admitted there is pressure on him and authorities but assured the public they are working on the case.

“More importantly, give the (city) government the time to solve crimes.  We have invested a lot such as on these camera technology that Inday Sara invested which cost us millions.  It keeps the city secure, but not crime-free; it’s impossible. But I have a vow to protect the people of Davao,” he said.

The mayor also took shots on CHR Commissioner Etta Rosales and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who had criticized him for issuing statements against crime.

“Etta, you better worry about the PDAF you received from Napoles. And de Lima, it’s too early to campaign for 2016, the way you are pressuring mayors caught with PDAF,” he said. (davaotoday.com)

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