Task force set up to solve slay
Jessie Tabanao knew the risks associated with his job as information officer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
He had a bulletproof vest in his Strada pickup and two 9 mm guns on the night he was killed, but was unable to use them to defend himself.
Even if he wasn’t a field field agent, Tabanao had his own informants with tips about the illegal drug trade, said colleagues.
A contracted hit is one of the theories being looked into by the police. The victim’s three cellphones and over P46,000 cash in his pocket were left untouched.
A task force was formed yesterday by the Cebu City police to solve his murder which took place past midnight Saturday.
“We know the risks of our work. You don’t know how long you will live,” said former PDEA regional director Julius Navales.
Navales described Tabanao as a “jolly person” and said he suspects the murder was related to their work in drug enforcement.
“He had information that’s used in the agency’s operations. We don’t see until it’s too late that these operations hit the drug peddlers who may have ordered the killing,” he said.
Navales said he last saw Jessie during his turn-over of command at the PDEA office last Friday.
“He was a very good friend and hopefully justice will be served. This is a reminder to the agents to be vigilant,” Navales said.
Senior Supt. Noli Romana, Cebu City police chief, said the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) will be headed by Supt. Carmelo Dayon, city police deputy director for operations.
The city police also coordinated with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Anti-Cybercrime Group to extract information from Tabanao’s cell phones.
Tabanao’s wife Katrina said he received a death threat a few weeks ago.
Katrina is scheduled to deliver their second child next month. Reporter Joy Cherry S. Quito and Correspondents Chito Aragon and Michelle Joy L. Padayhag
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.