Manila, Philippines – The attempt by police to change the narrative in the failed assassination of village Councilor Jessielou Cadungog to make it appear that Cadungog was the assailant, not the victim, showed only one thing, according to Mayor Tomas Osmeña — police had a hand in the spate of killings in Metro Cebu.
“The police are very much involved in these crimes,” said Osmeña, who had expressed disbelief and disgust at statements made by Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, head of the Central Visayas police.
“I suspect that is what’s happening now in the city,” Osmeña told reporters on Monday.
Sinas, hours after Cadungog, who is also a labor leader, survived the assassination attempt, said Cadungog would be charged with murder for the killing of PO3 Eugene Alcain Calumba, a member of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Parian Police Station in the city.
Just hours after Sinas made the statement, the National Bureau of Investigation regional office filed a homicide charge against the driver-bodyguard of Cadungog, William Macaslang, who shot Calumba dead after the policeman, along with an antidrug police asset, drove close on a motorcycle to Cadungog’s vehicle, an FJ Cruiser, and tried to open fire at Cadungog.
Osmeña said he was taking a stand on Cadungog’s case.
“I’m just stating what I see, speaking with a clear conscience but the police, right now, they don’t look good,” he said.
Calumba and his alleged accomplice, Michael Banua, a police asset, allegedly tried to ambush Cadungog on Monday.
The village councilor was not inside his P3-million car during the assassination attempt as he said he had changed his routine after receiving death threats that he would be the next to be killed.
Banua tried to run but was caught by village guards and bystanders who beat him up until Councilor Dave Tumulak rescued him.
Sinas said Calumba was on a surveillance mission on Cadungog’s village, Tejero, because of drugs.
Cadungog sought help from the NBI Central Visayas office.
The NBI was supposed to file an attempted murder charge against Banua but put it off for Wednesday.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Central Visayas planned to file separate charges against Cadungog and his bodyguard, Macaslang, for the killing of Calumba.
The CIDG has taken custody of Banua.
Osmeña maintained that the suspect in the case were the police and not Cadungog and his bodyguard.
Cadungog owned the gun recovered by police from SPO1 Adonis Dumpit, a suspected drug courier who was killed in a drug bust in Bohol province on June 27.
“If Cadungog was a target of the police simply because he owned the gun Dumpit had, then why don’t they include me as well?” Osmeña said.
“Dumpit is my friend and I will fight that,” Osmeña added.
Osmeña had repeatedly called on authorities to address the spate of killings in Cebu—most of which remained unsolved.
“I think there’s some kind of pattern,” the mayor said.