The police yesterday still had no leads on the killers of self-confessed drug bagman Ricky Serenio, who was gunned down near Manville Royale at Araneta Street in Barangay Pahanocoy, Bacolod City, Saturday.
The 37-year-old Serenio had claimed that he was the bagman of Berya Tolentino, the leader of the Berya Drug Group operating in Negros Island. In 2017 he executed affidavits naming police officers, National Bureau of Investigation personnel, judges, mediamen, and some politicians, who allegedly hadlinks with the illegal drug trade.
Former Moises Padilla mayor Magdaleno Peña, in a statement sent to the media yesterday, said he condemns in the strongest terms the killing of Serenio.
“This man has significant contribution in the government’s fight against illegal drugs especially when he exposed the involvement of high ranking PNP officials and some of its members as protectors and their fellowship of druglords,” Peña claimed.
He also said, “despite his shortcomings, Negros still owes Ricky Serenio so much when he risked his life and defected from the Berya Tolentino-Camaria drug ring.”
Peña added that he had helped Serenio live a normal life with his family in the last two years, and that he is determined to help find justice for him.
Serenio succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds on his head and body, Police Lt. Col. Ariel Pico, Bacolod City Police Office public information officer, said yesterday.
Pico said police investigators are set to talk to the two persons of interest identified as Joemar Dumip-ig, 30, of Barangay 14 in Bacolod, and Allan Bustamante, 30, of Toboso in Negros Occidental, who are still at the hospital due to gunshot wounds.
Dumip-ig and Bustamante were found near the crime scene when the police responded after hearing aburst of gunfire, Pico said.
The incident on Saturday also caused a multiple vehicular collision at Araneta Street, when the maroon Mitsubishi Mirage car of Ricky hit a multicab, while trying to avoid his attackers.
Some of the drivers who heard the burst of gunfire, likewise panicked, causing a domino-effect crash, involving at least six vehicles, including a motorcycle.
The five wounded civilians in the freak mishap were brought to the Bacolod Adventist Medical Center, and were treated as outpatients.
Drugs and personal conflicts are still the angles being looked into by the police.
Serenio was first arrested in January 2017, at Rizal Street in Barangay Zone 9, Talisay City, on the strength of an arrest warrant for grave coercion charges.
He was charged for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosivesafter a .45 caliber pistol with a magazine loaded with five live ammunition, and a fragmentation grenade, were seized from him during his arrest.
The court granted Serenio his motion for protective custody under Magdaleno Peña, his son Pulupandan Mayor Miguel Peña, and the Pulupandan police.
Serenio was later freed after posting bail for illegal possession of explosives, grave coercion, and illegal possession of firearms.
In April 2017, Serenio’s brother, Wilmar, was shot dead near their residence in PurokSampaguita 1, Barangay Singcang-Airport. This was followed by the death of their father Wilfredo, who was also gunned down in the area a month later.
Yesterday, police officers and their patrol carwere seen near the residence of Serenio, where his wake is being held.*
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