Police on alert in wake of riding-in-tandem shooting

Municipal police stations have reportedly been ordered to conduct twice-daily checkpoints in their respective areas as part of an effort to solve recent shooting incidents, including last week’s slay attempt on a Caramoran councilor.

According to a ranking officer of the Catanduanes police provincial office, Provincial Director Col. Paul F. Abay is acting on a verbal directive from the Bicol PNP regional director Brigadier General Arnel Escobal on shooting incidents that transpired in January 2020.

PD Abay is said to have ordered the police chiefs of the 11 towns to conduct checkpoints during the day and at night.

The station commanders were also directed to solve within a short period of time all recent unsolved shooting incidents in their areas of responsibility.

The provincial director’s action reportedly came just a day before a riding-in-tandem gunman fired at Caramoran councilor Zaldy Francisco Idanan, 57, while he was traveling to his home on board a motorcycle last Jan. 21, 2020.

According to the report of Caramoran police chief Capt. Ariel Buraga, Idanan was riding a red Honda XRM motorcycle back to his residence at barangay Supang at 2:15 P.M. that afternoon when one of two unidentified suspects on board a motorcycle fired at him with a firearm of unknown caliber.

The bullet struck the councilor at the right portion of his back but Idanan managed to drive on about 200 meters to seek assistance from the nearby detachment of the Catanduanes 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) in Sabloyon.

The detachment personnel immediately brought the wounded councilor to the Caramoran Municipal Hospital in Datag for immediate medical attention, with Idanan later transferred to the Eastern Bicol Medical Center in Virac for further treatment.

Capt. Buraga later informed that the bullet passed through the victim’s lungs and then lodged in his arm, but the councilor was reportedly in stable but guarded condition.

As of press time, the Caramoran police is conducting a follow-up investigation/operation to identify and apprehend the suspects who fled towards an unknown direction after the incident. It appealed to the public to report to the station any information relevant to the case.

A police officer who refused to be identified told the Tribune that the investigators are looking at all angles, including local politics, illegal drugs and the allegations that Idanan was involved in the smuggling of undocumented lumber in the past.

It is claimed in the town that the councilor was among those who surrendered to the police during Oplan Tokhang and then completed the community-based rehabilitation and treatment program.

The incident comes a month after riding-in-tandem suspects shot and killed a Virac resident recently convicted of a drug offense.

Last Dec. 16, 2019, Marcus Daxenos “Dax” Magtangob Besa, 39, a resident of Salvacion and an employee at the capitol’s Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO), was on board his car along Quezon Avenue at 10:36 P.M. when two men on board a red Kawasaki Bajaj motorcycle suddenly stopped beside the driver’s side.

The back rider reportedly pointed a baby Armalite at Dax and fired once before the malefactors fled towards an unknown direction.

Dax was rushed to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Hospital and was later transferred to Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) where he was declared dead that same night.

Until now, the Virac police has yet to identify the suspects but a police source blamed the cold-blooded murder on “onsehan sa droga.”

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