Police say suspects are members of syndicate in Iloilo province
By Francis Allan L. Angelo
CATTLE rustlers are having a field day in a village in LaPaz, Iloilo City with more than 30 cows already stolen since January.
Around 1am Saturday, Angelico Juntado of Barangay Banuyao, LaPaz lost his 1-year old cow to unidentified suspects.
Juntado’s case is the latest in more than 30 cattle rustling incidents this year which have remained unsolved.
Residents of Banuyao said their village chief Arturo Magbanua and tanods are helpless against animal robbers.
“We have been complaining with our Punong barangay but the stealing of our livestock continues. The police have not done any action against the suspects,” Juntado said.
Juntado added they have resorted to guarding their livestock “since we cannot rely on our officials and police.”
Aside from Juntado, the latest victims were identified as Henry Mabilos, Agustin Ofealta, Margie Delilla, Rodolfo Genallos and Antonio Petiño.
Even residents of nearby barangays of Ticud and Gustilo and areas of Jaro have fallen victims to cattle rustlers.
Barangay Kagawad Boyet Fernandez said they have instituted security measures to stave off cattle thieves.
But Fernandez said their barangay tanods are no match to the poachers who are “heavily-armed and well organized.”
Based on reports from residents, Fernandez said the cattle rustlers transported their loot on board a container van and accompanied by motorcycle-riding lookouts.
“Our tanods who only have nightsticks (batuta) cannot do anything against these heavily armed suspects. We are afraid that some of us might get killed if we run after these robbers,” Fernandez said.
However, Punong Barangay Magbanua blamed the police for his village’s peace and order problem.
“The police just told us to be vigilant against cattle rustlers. But what can we do when the suspects are brandishing long firearms. We expected the police to help us but we received nothing,” Magbanua clamored.
Magbanua added they have passed a resolution urging the city government and the police to carefully inspect cattle brought to the slaughterhouse at Molo district to ascertain if the animals are stolen or not.
Magbanua said they have also requested the police to put up a detachment in their area “but it has remained a request.”
The village chief although he understood the lack of police personnel to cover the whole district, “all I am asking is for our authorities to act in order to stop these suspects from stealing our animals.”
But Senior Insp. Alejandro Apostol, LaPaz police chief, said they have been helping Banuyao residents and officials “but the suspects are hard to catch.”
Apostol said cattle rustlers operate in the village at the most unexpected time.
LaPaz police intelligence officers said the poachers are members of a cattle rustling syndicate from Iloilo province.
Blue guard in Calzada
By Francis Allan L. Angelo
THE Mandurriao police is still looking for the whereabouts of a security guard who shot the son of an Iloilo town mayor Saturday morning.
Senior Insp. Kim Legada, Mandurriao PNP chief, said they have yet to locate Eladio Prior of Bingawan, Iloilo and security guard of Calzada Bar and Grill at Diversion Road, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
Prior is the suspect in the shooting of Rodgen Balasico, 21, son of San Rafael Mayor Ronnie Balasico, around 1am Saturday at the said nightspot.
Police reports said Rodgen was having a drinking spree with his friend James Belleza prior to the incident.
As Rodgen and Belleza were about to go home, the former argued with the bar’s management over their bill.
When Rodgen went rowdy, Prior allegedly shot him on the chest with a caliber .38 revolver.
The victim was rushed to the Iloilo Doctors’ Hospital and went under the knife to for his wounded heart.
Legada said Tomas Chua, owner of the said bar, had no idea about Prior’s whereabouts.
But Prior’s agency, R & E Detective & Security Agency, has been coordinating with the police to facilitate his surrender.
Mayor Balasico admitted his son is “immature” despite his age.
“Palalagaw ina sya kag mahilig mag gwa kung gab-i para mag-inom. Amo na gain nga ang iya balon sakto lang para di sya mag kadto kung diin-diin (He likes to go out at night to have drinking sprees. That is why his allowance is only enough for his necessities so he won’t stray at night),” Balasico said.
The mayor also admitted his son may have failed to pay his bills which resulted to the shooting incident.
Rodgen is also involved in a shooting incident during their town fiesta last month. (Published in The Guardian, November 14, 2005 issue)