Hired killers terrorize island paradise

"There is no vaccine against these realities of modern day-to-day living."


All is not well in Palawan, the paradise-like island group consistently adjudged among the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world.

A spate of killings has recently stricken fear in the hearts of residents unfamiliar with the crime and violence that occurred within weeks of each other.

The capital city of Puerto Princesa and the three Palawan provinces have remained “restricted” areas and commercial air transport have been disallowed.

The incidents have prompted the Regional 4B Police Office director P/Brig. Gen. Pascual Muńoz to relieve Palawan Provincial police chief P/Col. Dionisio Bartolome to put in place a more sensible investigation.

Police are now looking to piece together the puzzle in the assassination of 35-year-old lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit on his way to a court hearing in Quezon last November 17. Two men flagged him down along Narra highway.

A person of interest, a 38-year-old former soldier and now a casual employee of the Quezon municipal government, was apprehended in his house in Barangay Alfonso XIII in Quezon by a team from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the municipal police offices of Narra and Quezon.

Police Col. Nicolas Torre III, acting provincial police director, said a dashboard camera footage retrieved from Magcamit’s Toyota Innova led to the identities of the three persons of interest. 

It shows that a gun was fired from a parked van as the lawyer stepped out of his car. 

This simply shows how useful these cameras are. Still, they are hardly a deterrent to cold-blooded murders.

Just two days after the lawyer’s murder, the chairman of Barangay Poblacion in Narra town, Roderick Aperocho, who was gunned down while entertaining a guest inside his residence.

Aperocho, 39, and Jerry Dioquino, 23, were reportedly having a drinking session when an unidentified gunman barged inside Aperocho’s residence and shot the victims.

Both victims suffered multiple bullet wounds. Aperocho died while on the way to the Narra Medical Center.

In another incident on November 20, a gunman shot and killed Engineer Gregorio Baluyut, Municipal Planning Officer of Rizal town, Palawan in his backyard surrounded by a high fence.

The lone gunman managed to climb the eight-foot fence using a wooden ladder according to police.

The municipalities of Narra, Quezon and Rizal, where the series of violent incidents occurred, are neighboring towns belonging to what is now Palawan Del Sur, one of the three provinces created sub-dividing Palawan by virtue of the law signed by President Duterte last year.

Puerto Princesa is an independent city and the other two provinces are Palawan del Norte and Palawan Oriental.

It may take some time for the police investigators to establish the motive of the attacks but clearly they are the handiwork of hired guns.

Some Palawan residents are anxious that these acts of violence might continue toward the upcoming national elections.

The Duterte administration has been successful reducing crime incidence.

But sadly, it is next to impossible to totally eradicate crime, illegal drugs, terrorism, as well as corruption, as there is no vaccine against these realities of modern day-to-day living.

Topics: Erwin Tulfo , Palawan , P/Brig. Gen. Pascual Muńoz , Eric Jay Magcamit , assassination
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