Three angles – drugs, personal grudges, and politics – are now being looked into in the death of Bacolod City Barangay 2 kagawad Romeo Canlas who was gunned down in Purok Masanag 1, Barangay 26 in Bacolod, Saturday.
Canlas had 12 gunshot wounds based on the update of the autopsy conducted on his body, Police Maj. Reynante Jomocan, Station 4 chief, said yesterday.
The 33-year-old number one kagawad of Barangay 2 was on the drugs watchlist of Station 2 and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Jomocan said.
Barangay 2 is considered by authorities to be seriously-affected by drugs and several anti-drugs operations have been conducted in the area.
Investigation showed that three armed gunmen entered the compound of Barangay 26 kagawad Rino Dellarna, and shot Canlas, who was having drinks in the area. Three other suspects served as lookouts, Jomocan said.
Based on the eleven fired cartridge cases and slugs recovered from the crime scene, the suspects possibly used .45 caliber and 9mm pistols, he said.
Jomocan said they still could not conclude that the suspects were vigilantes or members of a gun-for-hire group.
Canlas had been staying in Barangay 26 for two months now because of several “issues” in Barangay 2, he added.
The suspects, who were wearing bonnets, jackets, and face masks are still unidentified. Their getaway vehicle is also to be determined because some witnesses said it was a white van and some claimed it was a white sports utility vehicle, Jomocan said.
On speculations that the killing might have been done by authorities themselves to neutralize suspected big drug personalities, Police Lt. Col. Ariel Pico, Bacolod City Police Office public information officer, said that the police observe due process by conducting buy-bust and other legitimate operations, not shortcuts.
Pico said intelligence and investigation personnel of Station 4 are now being utilized to solve the case.
However, if this is not solved at the station level or up to the Investigation and Detection Management Branch, the BCPO will recommend the creation of the special investigation task group, that will be approved by the Police Regional Office-6, Pico said.
He admitted that if the case is related to illegal drugs, the police will have a hard time looking for witnesses who will issue a sworn statements.
This is the first shooting incident involving a public official in 2020.*
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