BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The month of June is literally turning into a dead season as four shooting incidents claimed five lives in less than two weeks today in this urban capital.
Amid the killing, political partisans are accusing city officials on social media of not doing anything to stop the murders.
Some are even calling the city a “murder capital.”
“That is unfair,” administration councilor Al Victor Espino said when asked by DNX if the tag is a fair assessment of the peace and order situation here.
Espino, a longtime councilor who chairs the local council’s committee on police matters, said the killings are happening all over the country as part of the “administration’s policy.”
“This is not unique to Bacolod,” he said as he pointed out that similar incidents are happening in other parts of the country.
President Duterte had adopted an all-out war approach to illegal drugs since he became president in 2016, ordering police to intensify the campaign through Operation Double Barrel that involves the two-phase approach of Oplan Tokhang and Oplan VIP.
Duterte was also quoted in many speeches to have encouraged citizens to kill anyone with connections to illegal drug operations.
RUNDOWN: Four incidents, five dead
The first incident that started the June spree was in the evening of 31 May, only hours away from the new month when Roue Senador, a resident of Alijis village, was shot while riding his motorcycle.
He was killed, incidentally, near the house of Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
On the evening of the next day, 1 June, two persons were shot to death around 7:30pm amid heavy rains in Lampirong sub-village, Village 2.
The killer or killers shot Dexter Bryan Ursos, 41, and Fernando Mahipos, 39, several times to make sure they were dead.
They died inside the car where they were shot.
A four-year-old girl who was with them survived.
Police had repeatedly identified Village 2 as an area where drug peddling is rampant.
Ten days later, an ex-cop’s son, Danilo Sangcap Jr. was cruising in Estefania village on his motorcycle when an unidentified killer or killers shot him.
He fell off the bike dead in front of the village hall.
Danilo’s mother, Erlinda, told DNX armed men barged into his son’s house last year looking for him.
“I don’t know if they were policemen or soldiers,” she said as she refuted accusations that his son was a drug dealer.
He has money because he is a former seaman, she said.
Last night, along Galo Street, John King Porras was shot dead in the evening, in an area near Lacson Street, the busy main thoroughfare here.
Local radio station Aksyon Radyo Bacolod quoted Porras’ mother, Antonia, as saying that her son was washing the laundry at home when he received a call around 8pm.
He then left.
An hour later, police told them John King was in the hospital where he died of his gunshot wounds.
Antonia admits her son used illegal drugs and was caught by police in 2018 after she reported on him.