By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership on Monday tasked the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and Mandaluyong City Police Office to fast track the investigation into a shooting incident, which brazenly happened in broad daylight and along EDSA, that in the death of two persons and wounding of another.
Sr. Supt. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has already received the initial report about the incident, and has tasked NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar and Sr. Supt. Moises
Villaceran, head of Mandaluyong police, to solve the case at the soonest time possible.
According to a police report, the shooting incident occured along EDSA southbound near Reliance Street in Barangay Highway Hills around 3:30 p.m.
Mandaluyong police said two unidentified men riding a motorcycle without a plate number sprayed bullets on a white Toyota Grandia (NOS 361) as it was travelling in front of the VRP Medical Center.
Two of the three persons onboard the van were killed, police said. They were identified as Jose Luis Yulo, 62, businessman, of Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City; and his driver Allan Nomer Santos, 55, of Las Pinas City.
The third passenger, Esmeralda Ignacio, 38, was brought to a hospital for immediate treatment.
Banac said the Eastern Police District (EPD), which has jurisdiction over the Mandaluyong police, has already created Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Yulo to hasten the probe.
“Doon sa pangyayari sa shooting incident sa EDSA-Mandaluyong, nagkaroon na ng SITG ang EPD at agad pinaaksyunan ng RD [regional director] na si General Guillermo Eleazar. Nakarating na ito kay PNP chief at sinabi niya na agad tignan dahil ito ay isang incident na dapat matukoy ang motibo at bakit during broad daylight ay nagkaroon ng pamamaril,” Banac told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
(In the shooting incident in EDSA-Mandaluyong, the EPD has created an SITG and [NCRPO] regional director, General Guillermo Eleazar told them to immediately act on it. This already reached the PNP chief and he said this should be investigated immediately because we need to determine the motive and the reason why in broad daylight, a shooting incident happened there.)
The incident happened amid the implementation of what police describe as “intense” checkpoint operations for the coming May 2019 elections.
Banac explained that during checkpoint operations, police cannot thoroughly check all the vehicles especially since the law requires only a visual search of the cars.
“Nandoon din ang hamon na paano natin ma-prevent ang krimen lalo kapag ang baril ay nakatago sa loob ng sasakyan. Sa checkpoint, hindi namin pwede halughugin dahil visual search lang. Dito makikita natin na may handicap din sa amin (There is the challenge on how to prevent a crime especially if the gun is consealed inside the car. In checkpoint operations, we cannot search [what’s inside the car] and we can only conduct a visual search. We can see here that this is one handicap for us),” he stressed.
The PNP official said investigators were still gathering pieces of evidence, such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) footages in the area, to get a bigger picture of the incident.
Banac bared one development in the probe was that the suspects had long been following the victims.
“Isang anggulong tinitignan ay malayo pa lang ay nasundan na sila. Titignan natin kung ano ang motibo para mapanagot ang may sala (One angle that the police are eyeing is that they [victims] were followed by the victims [even before reaching Reliance Street]. The motive is still being investigated,” he said.
“Patuloy ang pangangalap ng CCTV footages nang sa gayon malaman natin kung saan nagmula ang pagmamanman, ang point of origin, hanggang sa nasundan sila sa EDSA (The investigators are continuously gathering CCTV footages to determine where the spying started, the point of origin, until they reached EDSA),” he added.
Eleazar, for his part, said the number of motorcycle-riding incidents in Metro Manila has already gone down in 2018 compared to 2017.
He said the NCRPO has recorded a 53-percent decrease in the number of shooting incidents involving riding-in-tandem suspects.
Last year, Albayalde led the launch of the Clean Rider campaign, where a sticker is issued to a “clean” motorcycle rider, or one who has no record of crime,” after undergoing police verification.
“Itong mga riding-in-tandem matagal na nating concern kasi challenge talaga ito sa atin. Kaya nga binuhay ‘yong Clean Rider na lahat ng motor nilalagyan ng sticker para ‘di na gaano iche-check (Riding-in-tandem suspects have long been a cause for concern and challenge to us. That’s why the Clean Rider campaign was launched where all the motorcycles are issued a sticker so that they will be subjected to easier checkpoint operations),” he said.
Eleazar said he talked to the Eastern Police Dsitrict (EPD) and urged its district director, Chief Supt. Bernabe Alba, to swiftly solve the incident.