It seems that the Bacolod Police was caught napping with the killing and robbery of a Chinese businessman on, of all times, Christmas Day. Men of evil do not make distinction indeed and they strike at times we least expect it.
Changle Wu and Jilbert Mayang probably relied on the police for their safety considering that the PNP is supposed to be on high alert during this season. So many of the PNP personnel were standing by in the checkpoints, so many were keeping watch at the area selling pyrotechnics but nobody was at the street corner where there is usually a crowd.
That intersection is a jeepney terminal and usually has plenty of people, so close as it is to the city's Central market and stalls selling vegetables and fruits. In a word it is not an isolated or dark street. There is also usually a traffic enforcer at the intersection where the store is located. Since the store has not completely closed yet, it is not dark inside either.
Taken together there was no policeman there. Whether one was assigned there or not should be checked because it would be negligence on the part of whoever assigns policemen that this junction was not protected. If there was somebody assigned there at that hour, where was he? If nobody was posted there, why not considering the situation of the area?
A man with a long, assault weapon dashed into Wu's store after shooting the security guard, Jilbert Mayang. Catching the people inside, the killer sprayed some more bullets and hit three others.
The M-16 weapon is issued only to military and police personnel. While we can discount civilians, this is not impossible. There are opinions that some elements in the drug trade that have nothing to sell anymore or are afraid to continue with that trade had shifted to armed robbery.
This is possible but the use of an assault rifle points more to the military or the police as the first suspect. Initial information says that the police think this crime was perpetrated by people in the drug business but that statement immediately discounts or absolves the people who have access to this kind of weapon. In fact the military and police personnel should have been the first suspect.
Of course the other group that bandies about with an M-16 is the NPA but this kind of operation does not have any trademark of the NPA and the modus operandi is clearly not NPA.
The police reaction is pro forma - we will do the best we can to solve this crime but from their interviews they seem to be at a loss. They were not on alert as they should be and an important section of the city apparently was not covered.
No wonder that radio broadcasters were quick to suggest that the commander of Station 1, Sr. Inspector Eugene Tolentino be relieved. That will not solve the case but that will show the PNP's resolve to remove the inefficient. This commander better come up with something credible and solve this crime.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran can do well to check on the deployment of the police at the time of the crime and who is responsible for their deployment. If there was a policeman in the area, why was there no immediate response? If not, why?
The use of an assault rifle indicate that the killer is no ordinary criminal but one who has competence in the use of this weapon. Only policemen and soldiers have this competence.
The operation was professional. The perpetrator or perpetrators were not merely robbers but people with no qualms to kill those who stood on the way or who showed any move to resist.
The killer seems to know the competence and tested the capability of the Bacolod police and he found it wanting. He will be back unless he is caught.
I know the father of the victim. We call him fondly as Joe Wu, a kindly man who had opened business here believing Bacolod is a peaceful city. We had lunch with his son, Changle several times and found the young fellow a pleasant man. Joe was very conscious of complying with Philippine laws and he believed that here he can find a good place for business.
We cannot fail him and people like him.*
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