By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
His work in the anti-illegal drugs unit of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is one of the motives being investigated in the death of the police officer along EDSA on Tuesday, the Eastern Police District said Wednesday.
EPD Director Chief Supt. Christopher Tambungan said the death of Police Senior Master Sergeant Solomon Cugay may have been related to his work in the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit of the NCRPO.
“Marami siyang na bust, marami siyang nahuling big-time drug pushers. So isang possibility natin yan na work related,” Tambungan said, although he cannot give examples the specific drug operations and arrested individuals where Cugay participated.
Tambungan denied the allegation that the death of Cugay was ordered by people who have personal grudges against him.
“Doon sa angulo na bounty hunter, tingin ko wala, the PNP chief na nagsabi na adjudicated na siya,” the EPD chief said.
“So doon tayo sa mga previous niyang trabaho,” he added.
Tambungan also said Wednesday that the killing of Cugay was an isolated case despite its proximity to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame.
“I think this is an isolated case. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything just because the incident happened near Crame,” Tambungan said in a press briefing Thursday afternoon.
“It is also an isolated case because this is related to his work in the RAID (Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs) unit. There were several drug syndicates and drug pushers they busted,” the EPD chief said, although he did not elaborate what specific operations Cugay participated in.
PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde early on Tuesday revealed that Cugay was previously included in the drugs watchlist of President Duterte adding that he was already cleared.
In order to fast track the investigation, the EPD created the Special Investigation Task Group-Cugay (SITG-Cugay) headed by Tambungan and composed of the District Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the San Juan City Police and the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory.
“The SITG-Cugay is now studying the trajectory of the bullets,” Tambungan said.
San Juan City Police Chief Colonel Ariel Fulo said they are still looking for closed-circuit television (CCTV) footages in the area to identify the suspect, as well as the plate number of their get-away motorcycle since the CCTV camera installed right in the corner of EDSA and Connecticut Street, was not working.
Cugay was shot by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle while driving along the southbound lane of EDSA on Tuesday.
Tambungan said the suspects wore helmets based on the initial information gathered by the first responders.
Initial autopsy result showed that Cugay was hit by six bullets—three in the back, one on his right elbow, and two on his left shoulder that pierced on his left chest, Norvelita Logronio of the PNP Crime Laboratory said.
On the other hand, seven empty shells and three deformed slugs of caliber .45 pistol were recovered in the crime scene, Tambungan said.
Meanwhile, San Juan City Police chief Colonel Ariel Fulo, said investigators already talked to the family of Cugay.
“We are still about to take their statement if Cugay received threats prior to his death,” Fulo said.
“The (wife) is still hysterical that’s why the investigators weren’t able to talk to her properly,” he added.
The police chief said they will also investigate the cellphone of the victim although they still have to take the permission of Cugay’s immediate family.