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Halloween Massacre: Masked men kill 6 drug users

/ 01:12 AM November 02, 2016
WEEPING WIFE A woman weeps as she waits for the body of her husband, Edmar Velarde, whowas among five people killed by masked men in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City, on the eve of All Saints’ Day. —RAFFY LERMA

WEEPING WIFE A woman weeps as she waits for the body of her husband, Edmar Velarde, whowas among five people killed by masked men in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City, on the eve of All Saints’ Day. —RAFFY LERMA

Masked gunmen struck twice and killed six people—five of them allegedly engaged in a pot session—days after policemen wearing creepy costumes celebrated Halloween.

The killings followed Thursday’s event at the Eastern Police District (EPD), which was billed as “Zumballoween Win Win Win against illegal drugs.”

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On Monday, the eve of All Saints’ Day, at 9:35 p.m., five people were shot dead by six unidentified men wearing masks in the house of one of the victims at Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City, according to Senior Supt. Joaquin Alva.

Alva, the city police chief, identified the victims as Manuel Evangelista, 37, John Paulo Tuboro, 24, Edmar Velarde, 31, Jennifer Discargar, 31, and a certain MacMac Albano, around 20-30 years old.

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“Tama na po, susuko na po ako (Please stop, I’m giving up),” Tuboro, a jobless father of two, was quoted by a witness as saying to his attackers.

“We did not know he was a drug user,” said Tuboro’s sister, Bernadette. “Even if he was, they were not criminals.”

Barangay officer Jonathan Villaflores told the Inquirer that the five victims were engaged in a drug session that night in Evangelista’s house.

Senior Insp. Danilo Esguerra, chief of the city’s police investigation unit, said the gunmen entered Evangelista’s house and told the two children inside to go out.

The intruders then ordered the victims to lie face down, riddled them with bullets and fled.

Rival drug group?

Esguerra said Evangelista could have been the target of the assailants, possibly a rival drug group. The police are also looking into the possibility that Evangelista’s house was being used a drug den, Esguerra said.

The police recovered from the house several drug paraphernalia, including foil and toother and five plastic sachets containing crystal meth, or “shabu.”

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Of the five, two were verified to be on the barangay’s drug watch list, Esguerra said.

Villaflores said Discargar’s mother was earlier looking for the missing P200,000 her daughter reportedly received from the sale of their house. The police did not recover any money from Discargar.

In Pasig City, at 8:24 p.m. on Monday, two gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed Billy Joe Avilles while he was sitting outside his house on Santos Street in Barangay Buting, said Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula, the Eastern Police District director.

Decline in crime rate

On Thursday, around 200 members of the EPD command group wore their favorite costumes at headquarters to celebrate Halloween. For the two-hour Zumba session, some came as ghosts, zombies and bloodied men; others wore black masks.

“What we are doing is a manifestation of our victory in the drug war—that we are in the winning side in the drug campaign,” Sapitula said. “It also aims to promote not only fitness but also camaraderie and bond among peers,” he added.

Sapitula said the incidence of common crimes in his district declined to 24 percent after continuous arrests and surrender of drug users and pushers.

Most of those killed in the drug war, he said, were users and pushers on the drug watch list.

Since July, there are already 130 deaths under investigation at EPD—72 in Pasig, 33 in Mandaluyong, nine in Marikina and 16 in San Juan.

Of the 130, only 14 cases have been cleared (suspects identified or cases filed) while five have been solved and attributed to the Boratong Drug Group in Pasig City that was also responsible for the shabu tiangge near the Pasig City Hall years ago.

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TAGS: Eastern Police District, Edmar Velarde, extra-judicial killings, Halloween massacre, Illegal drugs, Jennifer Discargar, John Paulo Tuboro, MacMac Albano, Manuel Evangelista, Pot session, war on drugs
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