Robbery suspect beaten up, dies in Fuente jail
Bystanders ganged up on a robbery suspect and beat him so badly he later died from his injuries in his minicell at the Fuente police station in Cebu City.
Jovan Tejano, 32, died at dawn yesterday, hours after being mauled by anticrime civilian volunteers and onlookers following his arrest in barangay Sambag II.
A police investigation is underway.
Senior Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, Cebu City police chief, said he ordered the relief of the precinct chief, Senior Insp. Michael Bastes, and three other officers.
Bastes said the suspect was kept in a minicell for females for his own protection after police found out he was gay and could be harassed by male inmates.
The role of anticrime volunteers in the violence is also being looked into.
Tejano was caught by a home’s closed-circuit TV camera breaking inside and taking items like Oakley sunglasses and expensive platters.
The home owner reported the break-in to the Fuente police.
Tejano was arrested at 3:30 p.m. last Thursday by Rafael Enriquez, a member of “Tracker,” an anti-crime volunteer group in sitio Sadra, barangay Sambag II.
Buenafe said they are verifying reports that civilian bystanders beat up Tejano before he was turned over to PO2 Edward Acop and PO1 Rey Pabroa.
The two police officers were later relieved from their posts along with Bastes and desk officer PO2 Allan Vallejo pending investigation.
Bastes said the robbery suspect arrived at the Fuente precinct handcuffed and battered.
Hours later, an inmate said he was playing cards with a companion sometime after midnight when he heard a loud thud.
Half an hour later, he called two street children in the precinct to check on Tejano, whom he couldn’t see.
He said the children threw pellets at Tejano to wake him but he didn’t move.
The inmate, who appeared unconscious, was brought to the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) where he was declared dead.
Police said Tejano had been linked to several robberies before.
His mother, 65-year-old Anita, denied that her son was a robber. She said he was suffering from a mental illness.
Senior Insp. Stanley Sabang was designated temporary Fuente police precinct chief.
The precinct has 14 street children whom the former precinct chief, Bastes, took under his care in May. He supports the schooling of eight of them.
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