Joavan pals nabbed, charged
Policemen looking for Joavan Fernandez yesterday arrested two armed men they said were his cohorts.
A tipster called in to report that the suspect’s car was parked in barangay Bulacao in Talisay City but he wasn’t around when police arrived. It wasn’t his car either.
Fernandez, adopted son of the Talisay city mayor, is still at large five days after he was accused of shooting a car shop watcher at midnight in Talisay City.
Responding police entered sitio Hawod Tuesday afternoon and arrested two men who were later charged with violation of the election gun ban and illegal possession of shabu.
They were identified as Manolito Jasmin Sencil, 35 of Tabunok Talisay and Romy Ramas, 28, of Deca Homes in Tungkil, Minglanilla town.
The latest of Joavan’s gun-related encounters has added pressure on the police to show that “nobody is above the law” especially during the campaign period.
Mayor Fernandez backtracked on his promise to the Talisay police chief to surrender his son last Monday, saying he would wait instead for a court order of arrest.
The mayor, a well-respected Catholic lay preacher, said he was willing to quit the Alayon party slate if his son’s troubles are weighing down the party.
“I am willing to step down if they want me to. Anyway these issues are not new to me and still the Talisaynons voted for me,” said Fernandez, who is running for city councilor under the Alayon party of Rep. Eduardo Gullas, a mayoralty contender.
But the mayor said Gullas has not forced the issue.
“I have talked with Congressman Gullas and he did not mention my status in the party, ” Mayor Fernandez said.
There is no move in the party to junk him, clarified Alayon campaign manager Ritchel Bacaltos.
“As far as Alayon is concerned, the group has no problem with Mayor Soc,” said Vice Mayor Alan Bucao.
“It just so happened that his son Joavan is giving him a problem.”
Bucao said no one in the party has suggested dropping Mayor Fernandez from the lineup.
Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr., Cebu provincial police director, earlier ordered his men to find Joavan, and consider him “armed and dangerous.”
The chief gave a two-week deadline following the April 12 shooting of car shop watcher Eduardo Largo, who was hit in both arms.
The case was initially described as “paregla” or random violence since Largo, the brother of the shop owner, said he didn’t know Joavan or have any issues with him.
The mayor’s son has denied the charge. He gave the alibi that he was in the Queensland motel in Talisay City at midnight when the incident occurred.
Tuesday’s arrest of Joavan’s friends may have been a close call.
Supt. Paul Labra II, chief of the Regional Intelligence Division, said that Joavan may have sensed the police closing in and disappeared before law enforcers arrived in Bulacao.
Supt. Elmer Lim, Talisay police chief, said a concerned citizen called in a tip about a white CRV parked in Hawod compound.
Members of the RIID and Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) 7 responded.
Seized from Sencil were one .45 caliber pistol, 1 magazine with 8 live ammunition, a holster and firearm license card.
Sencil had a gun license but will still be charged with violation of the election ban.
Ramas was found carrying a .45 pistol, a .38 revolver, Colt AR 15 Rifle, one silencer, one .38 revolver, two long magazines and a short magazine with live ammunition, and a pack of shabu.
The two were detained in the Fuente police precinct then were brought to the Palace of Justice last Wednesday for the filing of charges.
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