PDEA agent shot dead in Cebu City

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CEBU CITY, Philippines—An agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) was shot dead by a lone gunman on Saturday night while he was on his way to pick up his pregnant wife at a gathering.

Jesus Tabanao, 35, was shot several times in the back fired by a still unidentified assailant at 11:45 p.m. on Escario Street, Cebu City.

Tabanao, a former radio broadcaster, was spokesperson of the PDEA-7 prior to his transfer to the PDEA Caraga Region on Sept. 1.

Chief Inspector Romeo  Santander, chief of the City Intelligence Branch (CIB) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said investigators were looking at different angles into the killing, including work-related issues and personal grudge.

He said Tabanao went to the PDEA-7 office on R.R. Landon Street on board his Mitsubishi Strada to pick up his old stuff before heading to Fuente Osmeña to buy medicines.

He was also supposed to pick up his wife, Katrina, at the Cebu IT Park in Apas village.

Santander said Tabanao stopped by Escario Street, flashed his vehicle’s hazard lights and got out of the car.

Tabanao was taking something from his vehicle when a lone gunman on board a motorcycle stopped on the opposite lane.

According to security guard John Paul Sentillas, the gunman got off his motorcycle, crossed towards Tabanao and shot him at the back several times.  The gunman then went back to his motorcycle and fled.

Paramedics from the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF) said Tabanao was killed on the spot. The bullets that hit him on the back exited the front portion of his body.

Police recovered eight empty shells, probably from a 9mm pistol, from the crime scene. They also found three cellular phones and two 9mm guns from the possession of Tabanao.

Newspaper Journalist Jessa Marie Agua said she was with Tabanao’s wife, Katrina, at the Cebu IT Park for a late dinner to celebrate Agua’s victory as this year’s Miss Press Freedom, in line with the week-long celebration of the Cebu Press Freedom Week.

Agua said Katrina was waiting for her husband and was starting to worry when he failed to respond to her text messages and calls.

Agua said Katrina decided to board a taxi and look for her husband who, at that time, had been gunned down.

Katrina, who also used to be a print journalist, was due to give birth to a baby boy later this month. Katrina and Tabanao also have a seven-year-old son.

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