Illegal drugs eyed in murder of ‘tokhang’ surrenderer in Koronadal

Illegal drugs eyed in murder of ‘tokhang’ surrenderer in Koronadal


KORONADAL CITY, Aug. 10 — Police are eyeing illegal drugs as behind the killing of a drug surrenderer in an outskirt village here on Wednesday afternoon.

The incident happened several hours after a barangay chair was ambushed and killed by motorcycle-riding suspects while on the way to the city proper here.

Chief Insp. Jomero Sentinta, deputy chief of the Koronadal City police station, said victim Clero Cabrido, 51, was on his way home aboard a motorcyle in Purok Ilang-Ilang, Barangay New Pangasinan at around 3:45 p.m. when he was waylaid by two unidentified gunmen.

He said the suspects, who were riding-in-tandem on a motorcycle, shot the victim several times and fled to an undetermined direction. Sentinta said the Cabrido, who worked as a habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) driver, died instantly due to five gunshot wounds on his neck and body.

Responding personnel from South Cotabato Scene of the Crime Operations or Soco unit recovered six spent shells and two slugs of an unknown firearm, he said.

“Our investigation is still ongoing but we’re initially looking at illegal drugs as among the possible motives,” the police official said.

Cabrido, who is a brother of Barangay New Pangansinan councilor Deborah Cabrido Pader, was a self-confessed drug user who voluntarily surrendered to authorities last year in line with operation plan or “Oplan Tokhang.”

Esperanza Cabdrido, the victim’s mother, admitted that her son was a drug user but said the latter has already stopped and “started a new life.”

She said they were stunned by the incident and noted that the victim had not confided any prior threat on his life.

But the victim’s sister, Nimfa Cabrido Baclaan, told police investigators that they noticed two motorcycle-riding men tailing her brother prior to the shooting.

Police investigators could not say whether the incident was related to the murder on Wednesday morning of Barangay Topland chair Baltazar Bermil at a portion of Purok Garcia in Barangay Rotonda.

Bermil, who was driving a barangay service vehicle, was on his to a meeting of the city’s barangay chairs when he was ambushed by still unidentified suspects.

Bermil had figured in a controversy after one of his nephews was arrested in a major drug raid in his village last July 30 that resulted to the recovery of around PHP2.36 million worth of metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

The joint operatives nabbed eight other persons and seized several firearms and a rifle grenade.

On Tuesday, City Mayor Peter Miguel disclosed that three barangay chairs in the city and several other village councilors are being monitored by authorities due to their alleged involvement in illegal drug-related activities.