PPOC frustrated by lack of progress in probe of riding-in-tandem shootings

Disappointed by the so-far fruitless search for suspects in the recent shooting incident perpetrated by riding-in-tandem gunmen in Caramoran, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) has directed the Catanduanes police to summon the chief of police and case investigator to provide an update on their probe.

Acting Governor Shirley Abundo said the incidents that occurred in December 2019 and just last Jan. 21, 2020 have caused fear among the people and affected the island’s image as a tourist destination.

“We just want to allay the fears of the people as they are not used to it,” she told Camp Francisco Camacho officials headed by Maj. Danilo Tenerife, who represented provincial director Col. Paul Abay.

Her apprehension was echoed by Provincial Board Member Robert Fernandez, who wondered why the Caramoran police has yet to establish even the motive behind the shooting of Councilor Zaldy Idanan.

Tenerife said the Idanan case is still under investigation while the fatal shooting of Dax Besa in Virac has yet to be resolved as the police failed to identify the suspects who were caught in a blurry CCTV footage.

“We are pressuring the investigators of the two cases and told them not to rest until they are solved,” he stated, adding that the command will call them to a panel conference soonest.

Responding to the PBM’s claim that the intelligence reports of the Caramoran and Pandan police stations on the same case were different, the police major admitted that there are indeed differences but he clarified that all information gathered are subject to validation.

“We need to be sure as to the evidence and witnesses so the Court will not throw out the case,” Maj. Tenerife stressed.

Pressed by Fernandez as to the likely suspects, the police officer said it cannot be determined as of now as they have to consider other angles aside from politics.

Called to enlighten the council on the matter, Caramoran Mayor Glenda Aguilar said the motive could be illegal drugs, gambling, women and illegal logging, alleging that these were the “rackets” in which the councilor was reported to have been involved in the past.

She disclosed that several witnesses, particularly road workers, saw the two suspects pass by but they thought they were just ordinary motorists.

It will be difficult to identify the suspects as they were wearing full-face helmets and on board a motorcycle without a plate number, the mayor said.

She disclosed that Idanan came from a funeral, went to Pandan to attend a cockfight and on his way back was with a companion whom he dropped off at Tubli.

Remarking that the relatively far distance between Tubli and Sabloyon was a virtual “killing field,” she wondered why the suspects chose to wait before firing on the councilor just a short distance away from the police detachment.

“Ikaw din mismo ang makataram kung sino ang puedeng gumibo kaito saimo dahil sa kadakul mong raket,” Aguilar recalled telling the injured politician on his hospital bed.

She also informed that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is now probing the robbery-slay of public school teacher Mel Rose Baloboy upon request of the latter’s family who the mayor said had lost faith in the local police’s capability to solve the case.

According to a source, Idanan surrendered to the police during Oplan Tokhang and completed the Community-Based Rehabilitation and Treatment Program.

He allegedly moved in the same circles as Marcus Daxenos “Dax” Besa, 39, who was shot dead by riding-in-tandem killers in Virac last Dec. 16, 2019. Besa’s case has yet to be solved for lack of witnesses.

The councilor is a member of the politically-powerful Idanan family based in the vote-rich area of Datag in Caramoran. His late father, Francisco Idanan, once held the mayoralty and was succeeded in his post by the latter’s wife Lourdes, who also became councilor in later years.  along with her other sons, Zaldy, Ronald, Chito and Chester.

In May 2005, Zaldy, then 42, was arrested by the police in Tabaco City as the No. 1 Most Wanted Person in Catanduanes

Idanan, did not resist arrest when lawmen apprehended him at his hideout located at Luna St., Bgy. Kinale, Tabaco City.

At the time, the police offered P100,000 for the capture of the former councilor who served from 1998 to 2004. He was then facing charges for carnapping, robbery and less serious physical injuries.

According to police records, Idanan was also the prime suspect in other crimes, particularly in the ambush-slaying on August 13, 2003 of SPO2 Pedro Y. Roslin Sr., of Pandan Municipal Police Station, who was the lead investigator in the case of the confiscated illegally cut logs reportedly owned by Idanan who was still then a municipal councilor. One week before the killing, SPO2 Roslin and his group had seized the illegal logs.

Idanan was also tagged as the owner of the recovered abandoned logs with a volume of 4,595.84 board feet and market value of P116.549 at Bgy. Sabloyon, Ligao City on May 19, 2005 and another assorted lumber valued at P67,298 that were confiscated a day later at Sitio Balabanon, Milaviga, Caramoran, by joint elements of the police, Philippine Army and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.

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