After several years of evading police arrest, 22-year-old Emigdio Aparece, Jr., tagged as suspect in at least 15 killings in Bohol, was gunned down by authorities in his final act of defiance.
Aparece, who allegedly made his first kill at the age of 14 and was wanted for multiple murder charges, was found in the wee hours of Wednesday by police in one of his hideouts deep in the hinterlands of Danao town where he made his last stand.
He told heavily armed police operatives who had him surrounded that he was surrendering. However, he instead shot at the arresting officers, said Supt. Gaylord Tamayo, chief of the Provincial Mobile Force Company-Special Weapons and Tactics (PMFC-SWAT) unit.
“Sinabihan siya na ‘Emigdio, dong, sumuko ka na napapaligiran ka na namin.’ Sumagot siya ‘yes sir suko na ako sir, suko na ako.’ Five, four, three… bang, bang, bang, so pumutok na din kami,” said Tamayo who led the arresting team.
The brief exchange of fire led to the death of Aparece who died on the spot due to several gunshot wounds including one in his left eye. None of the police officers were injured.
Aparece, a native of Putingbato, Buenavista, has eluded arrest in four operations led by Tamayo. In some of the encounters, Aparece shot his way out of danger, eventually escaping from arresting law enforcers. But this time, police caught him off guard and had him cornered.
“Nakarami sa’kin. Naka-apat ako na operation [kay Aparece]. Pero hindi lahat ng araw swerte ka. Minsan din nananalo ang wala kaya pag-naubos yung swerte mo, tapos ka,” he said.
According to Tamayo, Aparece likely used the same hideout in previous instances when police were hot on his trail and was complacent that he would not be found there.
The small hut was located some seven kilometers away from the nearest community in the village proper. Police had to trek for about two hours to get to Aparece’s hideout at 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
“Nasa gitna ng bundok, walang signal, walang kapitbahay. Mahirap talaga puntahan. It’s like seven to eight kilometers so mga dalawang oras kami naglakad,” Tamayo said.
Heightened operations against Aparece were re-launched after he was tagged as suspect in the killing of Buenavista Mayor Ronald “Sampol” Tirol on May 27 in Buenavista.
Several operations were conducted to flush out Aparece but it was on Tuesday evening when police received information from an unnamed tipster who claimed that he saw the wanted person in Barangay Concepcion, Danao before heading to his hideout.
“Na flush out namin siya sa comfort zone niya. Nagconduct naman ng checkpoint sa taas para di na siya makabalik. Tapos may nag-inform nanaman kagabi na nakita siya sa area ng Poblacion, Danao so tumakbo agad kami doon. Tapos sabi nung tao na may nakita siyang nakajacket with hood na hinatid sa may Sitio Sta. Ana, Barangay Concepcion. Na convince namin yung tao na samahan kami dun sa payag. Nag jump off kami ng 12 nakarating kami sa area ng 2,” said Tamayo.
Police operatives found in Aparece’s possession a .45 caliber pistol which may have also been used to kill Tirol, added Tamayo.
The pistol has been submitted to a police crime laboratory for a ballistic test to verify if it was the murder weapon used in the Tirol shooting.
The police official also said that the P-200,000 bounty placed on the head of each of Tirol’s three killers, including Aparece, helped in pushing residents to relay information to authorities.
“I think malaking bagay yung reward. Kasi yung mga tao, pag may reward yan, syempre magka-interest yan gaya noong sa Inabanga incident na nagbigay si Presidente Duterte ng 1 million reward kaya madami ang nagbigay ng information,” he added.
Based on data released by the Buenavista Police Station, Aparece has been tagged in the killing of 15 individuals. Six of the murder cases were filed in court.
The following are Aparece’s alleged victims:
• 1. Luciano Binag Jerusalem – Brgy. Tanod – killed in Putingbato, Buenavista, Bohol – January 13, 2018 at around 6:30 AM (Not filed in the court)
• 2. Antonio Degamo Neones, Sr. – Brgy. Captain – killed in Putingbato, Buenavista, Bohol – 6:40 PM of September 2, 2016 (Filed in court with warrant of arrest for murder)
• 3.Rodelio Amadar Jumao-as – Farmer – killed in Putingbato, Buenavista, Bohol – 10:40 AM June 23, 2016 (not filed in court)
• 4. Felomino Melencion Aparicio – Farmer – killed Lapacan Norte, Buenavista, Bohol – 3:00PM of May 9, 2014 (Not filed in court)
• 5. Jocita Jumao-as Dabon – Daycare teacher – killed Sitio Lapay, Brgy. Baluarte, Buenavista, Bohol – 10:30AM of October 2, 2016 (Not filed in court)
• 6. Leo Tradio Betaganzo – Farmer – killed in boundary of Brgy. Sweetland and Brgy. Bonot-Bonot, Buenavista, Bohol – November 26, 2017 (Filed in court)
• 7. Ramil Jomao-as – Habal-habal driver – killed in Brgy. Bato and Brgy. Bonotbonot, Buenavista, Bohol – 7:30 PM of August 31, 2016 (Filed in court)
• 8. Shelou Millang Paquibot – Seaman – killed in Putingbato, Buenavista, Bohol – March 22, 2017 / 7:30 PM (Not filled in court)
• 9. Benidicto Duallo Melencion – Brgy. Kagawad/Cafgu under 12IB – killed in Putingbato, Buenavista, Bohol – March 22, 2017 (Not filed in court)
• 10. Ursolo Melesio Petalcorin – Brgy.Kagawad – killed in Lapacan Norte, Buenavista, Bohol – 10:00 AM of February 20, 2017 (Not filed in court)
• 11. Ernesto Centino Taghoy – Farmer – killed in Cambus-oc,Buenavista, Bohol – November 08, 2017 (Filed in court)
• 12. Jessie Arcayan Versaga – Carpenter – killed in Putingbato, Buenavista, Bohol – 7:00PM of February 18, 2017 (Not filed in court)
• 13. Erictor Badana Sia – Habal-habal driver – killed in Concepcion, Danao, Bohol – August 20, 2016 (Not filed in court)
• 14. SPO1 Alejandro M. Estorgio – Senior Police Officer – killed in Poblacion, Buenavista, Bohol – February 12, 2018 (Filed in court)
• 15. Hon. Ronald Lowell G. Tirol – Mayor – killed in Poblacion, Buenavista, Bohol – May 27, 2018 (Filed in court)
(with reports from Allen Doydora)