A 10-YEAR-OLD boy, hiding beneath a wooden bed, dodged bullets in an exchange of gunfire between police and suspected drug personalities in Barangay Camp 8, Toledo City on Friday morning, January 11.
The encounter resulted in the death of Remegio Caballero Atelio, 53, and a native of Barangay Camp 4, Talisay City.
Senior Insp. Alejandro Batobalonos said they went to Sitio Canapnapan, Camp 8 to serve warrants of arrest before the incident happened around 5 a.m.
Atelio showed up with his M16 rifle and he opened fire at Batobalonos’s team.
The operatives retaliated and hit the suspect in different parts of his body.
Atelio’s alleged cohort Mharnin Caballero, 18, was wounded in the back and he was brought to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center for treatment. Teodolo Juarez Inseso, 36, was arrested.
Batobalonos, the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit chief, said the group’s leader Jerome Labitad escaped arrest. The suspects have pending drug and illegal possession of firearms cases in courts.
The police found Dan (real name withheld for being a minor) hiding beneath a wooden bed inside the house where the suspects were staying.
“We were stunned after finding the boy inside. We were glad that he was not hit because we fired towards the house when we retaliated,” Batobalonos said in Cebuano.
The boy’s mother told Batobalonos that Labitad often let Dan run some chores for a fee.
On Thursday night, Jan. 10, Dan slept at the suspects’ house when he failed to go home because of the heavy downpour earlier in the day.
“I was busy the other night because my other child was not feeling well. Early this morning, I was confused after hearing the noise in our place. Later, I learned that there was an armed encounter,” Dan’s mother said.
Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Manuel Abrugena told personnel of the Toledo City Police Station-Women and Children’s Protection Desk to take custody of the boy and endorse him to the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 for stress debriefing.
Operatives seized Atelio’s rifle with four magazines, .45 pistol, 9mm pistol and five packs of “shabu” that weighed around 25 grams worth P170,000.
The illegal drugs were found by the Scene of the Crime Operatives personnel in the pocket of Atelio’s short pants. (From AYB of Superbalita Cebu / KAL)