By Artemio A. Dumlao
BAGUIO CITY (September 28, 2013) – Dolores town villagers and their officials smell foul in the police’s probe of the August 23 free-for-all shooting rampage where a former vice mayor of that town, his cop-brother and a bodyguard of the incumbent town mayor of that same town were killed.
Reason why, they are asking forensic experts from the National Bureau of Investigation to step in and conduct an independent inquiry and exact justice.
Villagers led by Dolores town officials and Mayor Roberto Seares Jr., want an independent probe of the incident to thresh matters out, to serve justice to all those involved and finally have a closure on the issue that accordingly has been muddled up in the beginning to serve partial interests.
In what eye-witnesses said was simply prompted by an altercation over a dice game at a wake, Police Officer 3 Dindo Guzman, 45; assigned at the police station in Bangued, Abra’s capital, his elder brother – former Dolores vice mayor Dante Guzman, 53 and Jun Cabanaoan, a bodyguard of mayor Seares Jr. were killed in an apparent shooting free-for-all in sitio Balneg, barangay Poblacion.
Also hurt in the ala “wild wild west” scenario was businessman Christopher Tordil, 40 and Abra Electric Cooperative employee Cesar Zapata, 34.
Earlier, Cordillera police said the former vice mayor had a heated spat with a certain Christian Jay Cortez alias Immong while playing a dice game locally called “dado” at the wake prompting the policeman to attempt to frisk Cortez.
Cortez accordingly however hurriedly left the gambling table but the Guzman brothers followed him. Moments later, a gunfight broke out involving the Guzmans and Cabanaoan and others.
PO3 Guzman, his brother Dante, Tordil and Zapata reportedly sustained gunshot wounds and were taken to Abra Provincial Hospital for medical treatment, but the Guzman brothers did not make it.
Mayor Seares Jr.’s bodyguard Cabanaoan also died in the gunfight.
Police investigators found at least 18 fired cartridges of cal 9mm; 13 fired cartridges of cal .45; one slug fragment of unknown caliber; a deformed slug; a live ammunition for cal .45; another live ammunition for cal .9mm; two copper jacket fragments; and one black holster.
Cortez, the Cordillera said, voluntarily surrendered to Abra police director Sr. Supt. Benjamin Lusad while Jeffrey Borgonia and other suspects are still being hunted now.
But the town council passed a resolution recently asking the NBI as an independent body to probe the rampage after showing dissatisfaction with the police probe that seemed favored the slain policeman but pinned down others especially Cortez who is now facing murder and frustrated murder suits simply after submitting himself to the police in an apparent bid to shed light on the shooting.
“We want the people, the relatives of those involved to know what exactly happened for us to be able to move on after the harrowing event,” Mayor Seares Jr. said.
Initially, the Cordillera police welcomed the independent probe. “Karapatan nila yan,” said Cordillera police spokesman Supt. Davvy Limmong after insisting that Cortez have been found to have also fired a gun after a paraffin test on him after the incident.
Town officials, said Mayor Seares Jr., “only want the truth and want a fair and impartial investigation.”***Artemio A. Dumlao***