Shootings get Caloocan top cop fired
More than six months after he promised to keep Caloocan City “less bloody,” the top police official was fired from his post effective on Monday for failing to solve over half of shootings resulting in deaths or injuries which happened during his watch.
Senior Supt. Jemar Modequillo, who took charge of the city’s 1,200-strong police force in September, was the second Caloocan police chief to get the axe.
In August, Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna was relieved following public outcry over the death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos in an anticriminality operation.
National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde confirmed Modequillo’s relief in a message to the Inquirer, saying it was prompted by the “series of unsolved incidents in the city.”
Replacement already chosen
He added that Modequillo would be replaced by Senior Supt. Restituto Arcangel, chief of the Manila Police District’s Public Safety Battalion.
In an interview, Modequillo said that while Caloocan ranked high among the other Metro Manila police stations in terms of operational achievements, the number of shooting incidents in the city went “largely uncontrolled.”
When he became chief, Modequillo promised to keep peace and order in a city widely perceived as a “killing field” by critics of the President’s war on drugs. Before his term, the image of the Caloocan police had suffered due to questionable operations that left teenagers dead, including Delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, 14.
An illegal raid on a house in which the homeowner complained that the police team stole some of her valuables proved to be the last straw, leading to the relief of the entire city police force in September.
Under Modequillo’s watch, only two police operations resulted in dead suspects. However, records showed that since he took over, there had been 111 shootings carried out by motorcycle-riding suspects or lone gunmen, leaving 117 people dead or wounded.
Shootings every other day
This meant that one person was shot in the city nearly every other day. Of the total, only less than half (51) were considered solved or cleared. At least 47 were perpetrated by still unidentified motorcycle-riding suspects, while 13 were considered drug-related.
Most of the shooting cases have gone cold with no leads or suspects, Modequillo said.
He attributed this partly to the fact that following the mass relief of the city police force, most of those who took over were rookies.
“You cannot compare Caloocan City to other cities. [The others] are already manned by police who have been there 10, 20 years—compared to the one month, two months of the people here,” he added.
Majority of cases in Camarin
Modequillo said most of the unsolved shooting incidents happened in the district of Camarin, which was under the jurisdiction of Police Community Precinct (PCP) Station 5 commander, Chief Insp. Narciso Cajipe Jr.
Cajipe himself was ordered relieved as PCP Station 6 chief last year after he shot dead a robbery suspect—one of the only two police operations which resulted in a suspect being killed. But in January, he was cleared by the Northern Police District, leading to his present appointment.
Records showed that between January to March 2018 alone, 61 people were shot, 22 of them in Camarin. Of these, only one case had been solved.
But this was “not the time [to blame] anyone,” Modequillo said. He rued, however, that had he not been fired first, he would have sacked Cajipe.
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