Police have arrested four young criminals who robbed and killed a 56-year-old taxi driver (who was also a retired police officer from Bohol province).
Senior Superintendent Joel Doria, Cebu City Police Office chief, identified the principal suspects as Arman Batulan and Carlito Barbon Jr., both 21 years old, as the alleged prime suspects in the killing of retired PO2 Jose Mendrano Sering Jr.
Sering, whose last assignment was in Panglao, Bohol before he retired from service in 2016, was shot inside a Ken company-owned cab at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, in Cebu City.
The victim, shot at close range, sustained two gunshot wounds in the temple and chest.
At a press briefing, police also presented to media two alleged cohorts of Batulan and Barbon, identified as 19-year-old Janno Mancera and 18-year-old John Ian Amigable.
The four are residents of Happy Valley in Barangay Labangon, where the killing of Sering took place and is known among Cebu taxi drivers as a “robbery zone.”
Recently, eight robbery incidents at the area had been reported prior to Tuesday’s slaying of Sering.
Meanwhile, police recovered from the possession of Batulan and Barbon the victim’s wallet containing cash and ID cards, two mobile phones, a brown bag, a reading glass, and a PNP badge.
Also seized were a rifle, one .45 caliber Colt pistol, one .38 caliber revolver, live bullets, and two knives.
“Police operatives were able to identify the suspects and track down their location through a tip by a concerned citizen,” Senior Superintendent Dennis Palo Agustin, former Bohol police director, now the deputy regional director for operations of PNP-7, said in a text message.
Agustin said it was heartbreaking to learn of the death of Sering, whose family was dependent on him as their breadwinner.
“The fact that Sering continues to work as a taxi driver even after he retired from police service only shows how dedicated he was for his family and loved ones,” Agustin said.
PO3 Nilo C. Hinay, of the Bohol Police Provincial Office, said in a Facebook post that he had worked with Sering, a former member of the Provincial Public Safety Command (PPSC) whom he knew as a good-hearted, hard-working person.
As seen photos, tattoos were seen on the arms of the suspects, and some village officials suspected the suspects were into illegal drugs which fueled their criminal activities.
According to police sources, the suspects had been tagged in previous robbery incidents in Cebu City.
Following the suspects’ arrest, angry comments by netizens demanding a “shortcut” justice for Sering flooded the Facebook page of Utan Bisaya (Alan Tangcawan), who posted a live video of the four suspects being detained by the Cebu police. (Ligalig Mike Ortega)