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Concern raised EJKs now common in Iloilo City

/ 01:20 AM October 22, 2016
The body of suspected thief and pusher Joemarie Arroyo lies on a street in Iloilo City after he was executed, gangland-style, by motorcycle-riding gunmen. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The body of suspected thief and pusher Joemarie Arroyo lies on a street in Iloilo City after he was executed, gangland-style, by motorcycle-riding gunmen. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

ILOILO CITY—This fast-developing but still laid back city is being put on the map of places where street killings are becoming a regular occurrence following the Duterte administration’s launch of a brutal war on drugs.

Concerns were raised over two cases of killings that happened in as many nights, both perpetrated by the now all too familiar characters—suspects riding in tandem on a motorcycle and victims suspected of being criminals.

Although police have not yet established a link between the killings in Molo District on Tuesday and La Paz district on Wednesday, the cases bore similarities.

The suspects rode motorcycles, stopped in front of their victims and shot their prey in public places.

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Bystanders were told to stay calm by the suspects, who seemed to have enough time to announce that they were just after their victims.

The suspects left the crime scenes calmly and police have not made any arrests.

The first case, on Tuesday, involved two motorcycle-riding assailants who shot dead a suspected thief and pusher in the village of San Pedro in Molo District.

The dead, Joemarie Arroyo, 46, died of multiple bullet wounds in the head and chest.

Senior Insp. Mark Cordero, Molo District police chief, said Arroyo was drinking at a store on the road when he was attacked.

One of the men on the motorcycle alighted and was the first to fire at Arroyo, but his gun jammed. The second man got off and started to shoot Arroyo, making sure the victim was dead.

Arroyo is a suspected thief in the community who faces several complaints, including one for stealing church donations and valuables in cars parked near the church.

According to Senior Insp. Cordero, Arroyo is also a suspected pusher.

Police asset

On Wednesday, two motorcycle-riding assailants also gunned down Wensher Caravana, 20, in Barangay Gustilo in La Paz District.

The assailants stopped on a street corner where Caravana was seated with three others and repeatedly shot Caravana. The gunmen told the victim’s three companions to lie face down.

Caravana was brought to the Western Visayas State University Medical Center where he died.

Senior Insp. Rey Sumagaysay, La Paz police chief, said Caravana was a police asset and a drug suspect, too.

Sumagaysay initially attributed Caravan’s killing to a feud in the drug syndicate as Caravan was reported to be planning to quit the drug trade.

The two killings had raised the number of unsolved murders in the city to three in just 12 days.

On Oct. 8, Carcar Hablo died of gunshot wounds after he was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Barangay Desamparados in Jaro District.

Dark inspiration

An Iloilo Church leader deplored the killings.

Msgr. Meliton Oso, executive director of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center, said while Church leaders support the campaign against drugs and crimes, “killing is against God’s commandments.”

While law enforcers might not be involved, Oso said the statements of Mr. Duterte might have encouraged the killings.

“He keeps on telling drug suspects ‘I will kill you. I will kill you’ which can be interpreted by policemen as a go-signal,” Oso said.

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TAGS: drug suspect, Drugs, EJK, Iloilo City, Killings, Rodrigo Duterte, war on drugs
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