The Calabarzon regional director of the Philippine National Police, Chief Supt. James Melad, and four other ranking police officials were relieved Tuesday from their posts over the death of a suspected hit man with links to alleged “jueteng” lord Victor “Vic” Siman.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas announced at a press conference in Camp Crame the relief of Melad, Batangas provincial director Senior Supt. Rosauro Acio, Supt. Raul Tacaca (head of the Batangas provincial intelligence branch), Chief Insp. Rodolfo Ama (head of the Batangas police Special Weapons and Tactics [SWAT] group) and Supt. Elpidio Ramirez (acting chief of police of San Juan town in Batangas).
“They have been relieved and tasked to report to the PNP in Camp Crame while a full investigation of the incident in San Juan, Batangas is ongoing,” Roxas said.
To probe killing
Roxas said a separate fact-finding team had been formed to look into the aspects of the killing of Fernando Morales, also known as “Pandoy,” while police tried to arrest him on Monday.
Morales’ family said that he used to work for Siman as a bookie but had left the latter’s employ a long time ago.
Roxas questioned the police for serving the warrant of arrest at 1:30 a.m.
Police claimed Morales tried to resist arrest and allegedly fired at operatives, prompting them to shoot him.
Morale’s wife claimed in news reports that the police did not properly introduce themselves when they came to their house and that they had not shown the warrant of arrest.
She said that her husband was dragged out of their house and then she heard gunshots. Morales died from seven gunshot wounds, reports said.
A report from the Batangas provincial police said that operatives tried to serve Morales, 46, a warrant of arrest for illegal possession of firearms issued by regional trial court Branch 87 Judge Noel Lindog. The warrant was dated May 19 last year.
Ama, Tacaca and Ramirez led the serving of the warrant on Morales, who the police said tried to evade the arresting team by going through the back door of his house in Barangay (village) Lipahan in San Juan, Batangas.
“In that instance, fire fight ensued between the arresting team and the suspect, resulting [in] the death of the latter,” the police report said.
It added that Morales was “listed” as a member of the “Batang Kubo” private armed group and was among the “personalities” in Coplan “NIPAHOT 01-2011.”
“Batang Kubo” gang is an alleged gun-for-hire group which was supposedly used by Siman against his enemies, according to the controversial Coplan “Armado,” which listed Siman and his alleged jueteng partners as targets.
Friends and associates of Siman said they feared for their safety after one of Siman’s supposed former aides was killed in another controversial police operation in Batangas.
One of Siman’s close friends on Tuesday told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that they had become anxious after Morales was gunned down by policemen who tried to arrest him in his residence in San Juan town.
The source, who agreed to talk on condition of anonymity, said Morales used to work for Siman, who was described by the police as an operator of the illegal numbers racket “jueteng” in Laguna and Batangas.
“Pandoy worked as a collector and table manager for Boss Vic’s STL bookies operations. But he already stopped working for Boss Vic,” he said, referring to the illicit numbers game which uses the results of the government-sanctioned Small Town Lottery (STL).
He said Morales belonged to the group of Nestor “JR” Banog Jr., Siman’s alleged trusted lieutenant who was killed in a purported fire fight in Calamba two months ago with policemen led by Supt. Hansel Marantan, the same police official who led the operation that killed Siman and 12 others in Atimonan, Quezon.
He said Banog and three of the six men killed in Calamba were also from San Juan town like Morales.
‘Out to get all’
One of Siman’s relatives said they had been getting information that policemen loyal to Marantan were out to “get us all.”
“Marantan has apparently become paranoid. He fears that we would exact revenge for the death of Kuya Vic. But we’re not that kind of people. We’re not like Marantan,” he said.
“You can ask around Calamba. Although Kuya Vic is accused of operating STL bookies, he was never known to be a killer. He did not need to bring a gun because the people here loved and respected him,” Siman’s relative added. With Matikas Santos, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted at 03:05 pm | Tuesday, January 15, 2013