Briones: Alive and kicking?

Publio Briones
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SELF-confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones was gunned down in Quezon City last Maundy Thursday, April 18.

We only know it was him because a cousin, a certain Joselito Cabilao, identified the body an hour after the incident.

There were pictures of a bloodied man. But these were pixelated. And you can’t well trust the public to remember what Sabalones looked like, considering he surrendered to authorities in 2016 yet and then he disappeared thereafter. Like smoke.

And no, the guy wasn’t big on selfies or groupies. So there weren’t that many photos of him on the internet.

When news reached Cebu, the reaction of local authorities was mute. In fact, three days after the shooting, Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Manuel Abrugena would not confirm that the victim was indeed the brother of now outgoing San Fernando Vice Mayor Fritz Sabalones. The police official said he still had to coordinate with the Quezon City Police District (QCPD). Police Regional Office 7 Director Debold Sinas also would not comment on the matter.

On April 22, news came out that the QCPD would not release the body of Sabalones unless those interested to claim it agreed to take a DNA test. The QCPD imposed the requirement because its officials were not 100 percent sure the person who was killed on April 18 was Sabalones.

Then Sinas spoke up. He said he believed the man was the notorious drug personality because a former cohort of the latter who had been arrested by police had positively identified him.

Members of Sabalones’ family could not be reached for comment. Police tried looking for them, including Fritz, but they could not be located. His live-in partner Wenefrida Misa had not been seen in their house in Minglanilla.

And that was the last we heard of the matter. After all, it was the run-up to the midterm elections and there were far more interesting news.

And so the shooting in Quezon City was quickly forgotten only to be reincarnated last Tuesday, May 21, when it was disclosed that Sabalones’ fingerprints from the records of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in San Fernando did not match with those of the slain person identified as the self-confessed drug lord.

Twice investigators compared the fingerprints, Sinas said, and twice the results were negative.

Now, the PRO 7 director is saying there’s a possibility that Sabalones is alive and is in hiding. That, or someone else posing as Sabalones had registered in Comelec. Either way, Sinas told reporters, “We have agreed that any conclusion must be based on scientific findings.”

Is this some kind of a joke? If it is, it’s not funny.