A trusted aide of the slain Talibon-based druglord tagged in the brutal ambush of then Ubay chief of police, chief inspector George CaÃ±a, in 2014 was killed in a shootout with the police following a buy-bust operation on Friday in Talibon.
The slain drug suspect, Troy Dela Torre, had once voluntarily surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-7 office two days after CaÃ±aâ€™s murder on the night of June 7, 2014.
At around 2 p.m. last Friday, a team from the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) trapped Dela Torre in a buy-bust operation in barangay Sto. NiÃ±o, Talibon.
Heavily-armed Dela Torre sensed it was a buy-bust operation and pulled out his firearm and shot at police officer.
The PIB team stationed in the premises fired back, hitting Dela Torre.
The cops rushed Dela Torre to a nearby hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
The PIB recovered an improvised shotgun, .38 caliber revolver and a .22 caliber revolver from Dela Torre.
They also recovered 20 packs of shabu and drug paraphernalia in Dela Torreâ€™s possession.
Chief Insp. Rolando Antipolo of the PIB confirmed that Dela Torre was a big-time drug dealer and was among those tagged in the killing of CaÃ±a.
Dela Torre had admitted in 2014 that he worked for Owen Rosales, a trained Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member and ventured on illegal drugs business after his dismissal from service and later designed the ambush of CaÃ±a.
CaÃ±a had earned the ire of drug rings like the one headed by Rosales for his aggressive campaign against them.
Dela Torre admitted working as drug pusher for Rosales when he voluntarily surrendered to then NBI-7 Regional Director Max Salvador in June 2014, saying he decided to come out and sought refuge in authorities as he already feared for his life.
Salvador then said there had been no standing warrant against Dela Torre and that his surrender was voluntary.
Upon the fall of Rosales and the surrender of Dela Torre, the other shabu peddlers working for Rosales also relayed messages that they are willing to surrender anytime because they no longer feel safe.
At the height of the crumble of Rosalesâ€™ drug ring, then Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 officer-in-charge, PS/Supt. Orlando Ualat, ordered investigation prompted by intelligence information that some police personnel and some elected officials were involved in the illegal drugs operation.
He warned that sanctions would be imposed on police personnel proven to be in cahoots with criminals.
Rosales had once been assigned at Ubay police station, but CaÃ±a recommended his transfer to Sevilla after being implicated in the illegal drugs operation in Ubay.
However, Rosales never reported to Sevilla police station and went AWOL (absent without official leave) for three months.
This prompted for the higher police command to rule on his dismissal from service.
About a month prior to the ambush in Talibon, CaÃ±a prided of having booted out a former police officer who had been implicated in drugs.
According to intelligence information, Rosales harbored grudge against CaÃ±a that triggered the well-planned ambush on June 7, 2014.
Other earlier intelligence reports also had it that CaÃ±aâ€™s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs invited death threats.
Then police provincial director Dennis Agustin said he had even warned CaÃ±a to avail of additional security escorts after intelligence information cropped up that the Ubay chief of police could be a target of a hit squad working for drug lords.
JUSTICE FOR CAÃ‘A
In about 10 hours, the Provincial Public Safety Company/SWAT team and Bien Unido police tracked down Rosalesâ€™ gang at a resort in Bien Unido.
The composite police team included personnel from the Provincial Intelligence Branch led by PS/Insp. Jojit Mananquil, Provincial Public Safety Company/SWAT team led by PS/Insp. Roland Lavisto, and Bien Unido police led by PCInsp. Alvin Futalan.
Rosales and five of his men were killed during the encounter. Three other men in the group and Rosalesâ€™ girlfriend voluntarily yielded themselves to authorities during the negotiation before Rosales opened fire.
Salvador said Dela Torre first relayed his plan to surrender to authorities in the afternoon of that day.
In coordination with the CIDG in Bohol, the team from the NBI-7 came to fetch Dela Torre and brought him to Cebu.
Salvador said Dela Torre had already started providing initial information about the illegal drugs operations in Bohol.
On June 11, 2014, then Bien Unido municipal councilorÂ Patricio Avenido, a retired police officer, personally turned-over to the municipal police station, a plastic bag containing firearms and ammunitions.
Avenido told the police on duty that the bag came from a certain Troy dela Torreâ€”the same trusted aide of Rosales who surrendered to authorities days earlier.
The plastic bag contained two Remington caliber.45 pistols without Magazine and with serial no. 113643; one Colt MK IV without serial number with magazine loaded with seven ammunitions; â€¨one Smith & Wisson caliber .38 revolver without serial number with four live ammunitions inside the cylinder; one short magazine of M16 rifle with 18 live ammunitions inside; and a hand grenade.
Avenido and his caretaker, NiÃ±olito Justiniane, reported that at around 10 a.m. on June 8, 2014, a black Mitsubishi Montero suddenly arrived at their house.
One of the passengers, who turned out to be Dela Torre, immediately disembarked, bringing the plastic bag and handed it to Justiniane.
Without any idea whatâ€™s inside the plastic bag, the caretaker immediately turned-over it to Avenido who also had no idea what it contained.
The following day, Avenido voluntarily and personally turned over the plastic bag to the police station of Bien Unido where it was checked and found out that it contained firearms and ammunitions.
An inventory was conducted by PO2 Romelito Avenido and PO2 Lloyd Garcia in the presence of one Roseller Atillo and the chief of police.
It was forwarded to the crime laboratory at Camp Dagohoy in Tagbilaran for ballistic examination.
THE FALL OF OWENâ€™S DRUG RING
Among those killed with Rosales during the Bien Unido encounter were Police identified the casualties, aside from Rosales, as Armando Quisto, 33, married, resident of barangay Balintawak, Talibon; Glenn Sayson, 34, married, resident of barangay Mandawa, Bien Unido; Junifer Bicada, 36 years old, married, resident of Poblacion, Talibon; Carlito Kiamcoâ€”also known as Tukayâ€”a resident of barangay Tabajan, Guindulman; and Amie Camero, 18 years old, single who came from Talisay City, Cebu.
Agustin later confirmed that Camero served as the collector and took charge of the logbook and investigators are digging more information as to when she actually started joining the group.
Those who surrendered were Roberto Olalo, 35 years old, married and a native of Davao City; Paulo Avenido, 33 years old, single and from Poblacion, Bien Unido; Orlando Garcia, 35 years old, married and a resident of barangay Magsaysay, Talibon; and an 18-year-old woman identified as Joan Cajes, a resident of Poblacion, Trinidad. The woman admitted she was the girlfriend of Rosales, the groupâ€™s leader.
After the encounter, the police team recovered an M16 rifle, two KG9 assault rifles, two caliber .45 pistols, one 9mm pistol, one caliber .38 revolver, a hand grenade, a pack of shabu weighing 100 grams, a large pack of shabu with street value of P250,000, and 23 more het-sealed smaller sachets of shabu from the suspects.
Garcia was caught in possession of a caliber .38 revolver loaded four live ammunitions and two small sachets of shabu.
Olalo yielded two sachets of shabu when frisked.
Avenido also yielded four sachets of shabu.
A complaint related to violations of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunitions, for alleged illegal possession of high-powered firearms and explosives; and another complaint for alleged violations of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were already filed on June 12 against the four who surrendered.
At around 12:30 on the same day, the police team manning the checkpoint in Poblacion, San Miguel arrested three more suspected drug personalities on board a Mitsubishi Montero with plate number KDZ-864 linked with Rosales.
Based on intelligence reports, Rosales had been seen using the vehicle several times.
Police identified the driver as Cirilo Cagatin also known as Siring, 30 years old, married and a resident of barangay Badiang, Valencia; and the passengers as Romelos Languidoâ€”also known as Nonong–46 years old and a resident of sitio Suburban in Poblacion, Talibon, and Michael Lagunza, 27 years old, single, also from Poblacion, Talibon.
Recovered under the driverâ€™s seat were a magazine for an M16 rifle with ten ammunitions, a black pouch containing a 9mm bullet; another black pouch containing five 12-gauge pellets at the passengerâ€™s front seat where Romelos Languido was seated; a hand grenade wrapped with black and yellow electrical tape around the safety lever portion; a clutch bag in combination of blue and red printed with â€œI love this gameâ€ containing three aluminum tinfoil strip found at the second seat where Michael Lagunza was seated; a lighter; three pairs of stainless scissors; a Ray Ban sunglasses, two improvised clippers in white and blue; one black Pilot marker; and one motorcycle spoke.
Found at the back seat of the vehicle are blanket in assorted color; a pillow Balmain brand; a brown shawl; a black Billabong brand ball cap; a pair of shoes; four pairs of assorted slippers; four face towels; a plastic cellophane sealed with packaging tape containing a dozen of assorted t-shirts in assorted brands and color; seven assorted short pants in assorted brands and color; three sleeveless shirts in different brands and color; a plastic box containing one 500-page valiant record book containing different figures, names and different receipts inserted in the page; an electric packaging sealers, a cellophane containing three small assorted sling bagsâ€”a Scottish Hendoz brand, a North Face, and a Bently brand; an empty plastic bag marked with â€œHome and Fashionâ€; a pair of eyeglasses with case; a New Testament book printed with â€œPO1 Rosales O.â€ found on the first page.
Confiscated from Cirilo Cagatin were a Samsung cellphone; from Romeros Languido was a myPhone cellphone; and from Michael Lagunzadn was a Nokia cellphone.
At around 8 a.m. on June 8, San Miguel police station received a phone call from Camp Dagohoy in Tagbilaran City through cellphone, directing to conduct a checkpoint to intercept a black Mitsubishi Montero with plate number KDZ 864 believed to be the Mitsubishi Montero boarded by the unidentified men who gunned down CaÃ±a.
PSInsp. Rey Romaguera of San Miguel police station immediately pulled a team and put up a checkpoint along the national highway of Poblacion area.
Indeed, at around 12:30 noon, a black Mitsubishi Montero passed and when they flagged down the vehicle, the police team found that it matched the description given by the officers at Camp Dagohoy.
FALLING ONE BY ONE
At around 6:10 p.m. on September 19, 2014, another right hand of Rosales, Giovanni Cuizon, was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen along J.A. Clarin St. near the City Hall.
Scene of the Crime Operatives recovered 1.53 grams of shabu placed in three sachets from Cuizon.
His link to Rosales was traced a few hours after the Bien Unido encounter where Cuizon and two other men were intercepted at a checkpoint in San Miguel. He was, however, excluded from the arrest then because the police officers manning the checkpoint had recovered no contraband from his possession.
PoliceÂ databaseÂ showedÂ thatÂ Cu izon,Â singleÂ atÂ 26,Â wasÂ aÂ form er cadet of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy but was kicked out after being found to have been involved in the use and sale of illegal drugs.
He was also tagged as â€œone of the top players in the illegal drugs business in the province when arrested in a raid in his residence in Talibon by CaÃ±aâ€.
Another remnant of Rosalesâ€™ gang, one Justino Cajes, was arrested in a buy-bust operation at around 11:30 p.m. on February 17 last year in barangay Camambugan, Ubay through the order of CaÃ±aâ€™s successor as Ubay chief of police, Chief Inspector Petronilo Gracia Jr.
Gracia identified the then 50-year-old Cajes as the father of the girlfriend of Rosales, Joan who was among the companions of Rosales who surrendered to authorities prior to the exchange of gunfire in the Bien Unido operation in 2014.
Prior to the February 2015 operation, Cajes had been arrested twice, but always managed to post bail.
The police team of Ubay arrested him for the third time at around 11:30 p.m. on February 17 during a buy-bust in barangay Camambugan, Ubay.
Cajes yielded one sachet of shabu in exchange of the 500-peso bill used as marked money.
In the frisk that ensued, the cops confiscated two more sachets of medium size containing shabu, some drug paraphernalia, a cellphone believed to have been used in his transactions and an unregistered motorcycle.
According to intelligence reports, Cajes, a native of barangay Poblacion in Trinidad would only go to Ubay to dispose his supply of drugs and immediately return home after the transaction, according to Gracia.
Another suspected remnant of Rosalesâ€™ drug ring was killed in a shootout on March 11 this year in a buy-bust operation that turned into a shootout.
Investigators at the Tagbilaran City Police Station identified the slain man as one Leoncio Florenosos Jr., a 38-year-old resident of San Miguel.
According to SPO4 Yolando Bagotchay Jr., his team from the city police station and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), in coordination with the local team of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), conducted a joint buy-bust operation against one Melbert Pulguerinas, at around 7:45 p.m. on March 11 along EB Aumentado St., Barangay Cogon.
After handing a sachet of shabu to the poseur-buyer and receiving the payment, Pulguerinas sensed the presence of cops. He then ran towards his house and fled through the back door.
While the cops were chasing Pulguerinas, Florenosos appeared and pointed a firearm at the cops. This prompted one of the cops to shoot him.
Florenosos then ran inside the house and shot the pursuing cops, again prompting the cops to shoot him again.
Florenosos sustained gunshot wounds in the head, the left portion of the thigh, and in the portion below the left armpit.
The police team recovered a 9 mm fired cartridge case, one caliber .45 Colt MK IV handgun bearing the serial number 196382 with chamber load (double feed) and magazine, and one cartridge from the possession of Florenosos.