Guard in US diver’s slay not licensed

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BLACQUIO.  PHOTO FROM LAS PIÑAS POLICE

The subdivision security guard who allegedly shot American diver Matthew Caldwell dead during a heated argument Thursday night was not licensed for the job and his agency was never registered with the Philippine National Police, the Inquirer learned Saturday.

Three days after Caldwell’s killing, the police started circulating photos of Ericson Mendoza Blacquio (not Elacquio as earlier reported), who worked for South Star Security Agency and a resident of Sampaloc Site, BF Parañaque.

Blacquio escaped after shooting Caldwell, a businessman and a technical diver who helped the Philippine Coast Guard find the body of then Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo following a plane crash last year. The American, who had lived in the country for 20 years, received an award from President Aquino for his role in the search.

The guard was then manning the gates at Hamilton Heights Subdivision in Barangay Talon V, Las Piñas City, when he barred Caldwell and his live-in partner from entering, reportedly on orders from management to restrict residents who had been remiss in paying monthly dues. The guard shot the American in the face in an argument after the latter tried to raise the wooden boom barrier.

Chief Insp. Vanni Martinez, head of the Las Pinas police investigation unit, said Hamilton Heights issued a memo to the guards in July saying residents who refused to pay a monthly P500 fee shall not be extended certain services. The fees were collected to pay for security and power supply for street lights, among others, the officer said.

The guards were given a list of the vehicle plate numbers of delinquent payers. When they see these vehicles, the guards were not supposed to lift the gate barrier and just let their owners do it themselves, Martinez said.

However, the officer said, “when I last talked to the homeowners association officials, they condemned what Blacquio did. (The situation) didn’t have to go that far,” Martinez said.

“Some of them felt guilty because their policy became the cause of the quarrel that killed Caldwell,” Martinez said in Filipino.

Martinez also disclosed that Blacquio’s agency, owned by Jordan Mijares, was not registered with the PNP’s Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (Sosia) and that the suspect did not have a license to be a security guard.

“I checked the registration papers submitted by the agency to the homeowner’s association and found that they were dated May 2013 and yet the signature was that of former PNP chief Avelino Razon, who is already retired,” he said.

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