Police form special task force to probe into ex-Cebu town mayor’s slay

CEBU CITY, Philippines A Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) will be formed to probe the death of former Medellin mayor Ricardo "Ricky" Ramirez, Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) public information officer Eleveo Marquez said on Wednesday, June 19.

Armed with high-powered firearms, at least 15 men stormed inside the Bogo-Medellin Medical Center (BMMC) and shot Ramirez. The assailants fled the hospital using 3 sport utility vehicles.

Marquez said the incident was not caught on camera since mobile phones were seized and investigators said there was no closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the private hospital.

However, he said they would look for nearby establishments with CCTVs that may have caught the “arrival and departure” of the suspects.

“[We have decided] to create [an] SITG because the manner of killing is somewhat we consider as makapa-alarma (alarming). Then, maka-alarma kay tungod sa kadaghan sa mga (alarming because of the number of) personnel. Tanan sila naka-bonnet (All of them wore bonnets),” Marquez said.

“Dili siya ingon nga usual nga naa’y mu-atake, unya, ing-ana kadaghang mga tawo sa usa ka establisyemento,” he said. (It was an unusual attack and the number of assailants in one establishment was just uncanny.)

Marquez said the SITG would work in coordination with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to establish the motive of the shooting and the identities of the suspects.

No clear motive

Although Marquez said they are yet to determine the motive through followup investigations, he mentioned 3 “possible” reasons for the shooting.

First, Marquez said, the shooting could be drug-related and sanctioned by a drug syndicate.

“Kani si Mr Ramirez is known na man gyud ni nga addict. Wala ta’y information kung nahilambigit ba ni siya sa pag-dispose sa mga illegal drugs,” Marquez said. (Mr Ramirez is already known as a drug addict. We have no information if he was linked to the disposal of the illegal drugs.)

After saying that they have no information on his affiliation with the illegal trade, Marquez said, “But sa iyahang pagaka-mayor sa una (during his tenure as mayor), we can conclude, because he has the power and authority sa iyahang gisakopan (in his jurisdiction), so posible nga ga-protect pud ni siya sa mga (he’s protecting the) illegal drug peddlers or distributors sa iyahang lugar (in his place).”

Second, Marquez told the media cases filed against the slain mayor could have been the motive for the shooting.

“Posible. Dili nato wala-on ang posibilidad sa iyang giatubang nga kaso ug sa uban pa’ng mga kaso. Basi’g naa pa siya’y administrative cases sa una nga mayor pa siya,” Marquez said. (It’s possible. We couldn’t discount the possibility that his cases could have been the motive. Maybe he had administrative cases when he was still a mayor.)

Third, Marquez said that although the motive being political is remote, the police would still consider looking into this.

Marquez said they would also look into the security implemented by the BJMP. “Tan-awon nato ang sa side sa BJMP kung sakto ba ang security nga ilahang gi-implement sa pag-secure kang Mr Ramirez.” (We’ll ask for BJMP’s side if they have implemented the appropriate security for Mr Ramirez.)

Marquez confirmed that only one security detail was stationed by the BJMP to ensure the security of Ramirez. Rappler.com