Controversial cop Barandog, wife wounded in Sunday ambush

·4 min read

A POLICE official who had been accused by former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña of harassing his supporters in 2019 was wounded in an ambush on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Police Lt. Col. Chuck Barandog was critically wounded after he was ambushed by two motorcycle-riding men at the corner of Pope John Paul II Ave. and F. Cabahug St., Cebu City past 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Barandog and his wife, former Cebu City Medical Center administrator Yvonne Cania, and a police security escort were on their way home to Barangay Kalunasan aboard a white Toyota Hi-Lux pickup with STL Party-list markings after attending an activity in Mandaue City when the gunmen peppered their vehicle with bullets.

Cania is running in the May 9, 2022 elections as the STL Party-list first nominee.

Lt. Col. Maria Theresa Macatangay, information officer of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said the security escort, whom she declined to name, narrated that they were traversing Pope John Paul II Ave. when Lt. Col. Barandog, the driver of the vehicle, stopped the vehicle on reaching the Ayala-Kasambagan road intersection due to the stop signal.

He said they were about to speed off as the traffic light turned green when the assailants staged the ambush.

The vehicle’s window on the driver’s side bore multiple gunshot holes.

11 gunshot wounds

Despite suffering 11 gunshot wounds in different parts of his body, including the arm, hands and stomach, Barandog still managed to crawl towards the back of the car to hide, while Cania immediately got out of the car.

Cania was hit in the left portion of her ribs and thigh and was declared in stable condition.

Barandog and his security escort allegedly were not able to fire back at the gunmen as the ambush happened too quickly.

The escort’s eyes were also hit by shards from the car’s glass window.

The suspects immediately fled and are now being hunted by the police.

The Special Investigation Task Group of Mabolo Police Station 4, City Investigation and Detective Management Branch, Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas are investigating.

Macatangay said they will trace the CCTV cameras in the area to review the incident that could lead to the identification of the suspects.

The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) will look into several angles in their investigation.

“Work related, personal, iyahang relationships, kana ug sa politics we’re also looking into that and many more. Daghan kaayo; complex ang maong hitabo. Ang atoa lang nga gitrabaho karon ang i-trace nato kung asa ug kinsa ning mga assailants and hopefully it will lead us or the circumstantial evidence will lead us to them (Work related, personal, his relationships and politics we’re also looking into that and many more. It’s a complex incident. All we are working on now is to trace where and who these assailants are),” Macatangay said.

The police believe the target of the assailants was Barandog as the gunmen aimed their fire on the driver’s side.

Macatangay said Barandog was relieved from his position as head of the Cebu City Mobile Force Company (CCMFC) of the CCPO and was transferred to the Personnel Holding Admin Unit in Camp Crame two weeks ago for reasons that have yet to be known.

Brig. Gen. Roque Eduardo Vega, chief of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7), ordered the director of the Cebu Police Provincial Office to conduct a thorough investigation and to trace the motorcycle used by the suspects.

“Titingnan natin lahat ng posibleng angulo sa nangyaring pamamaril kung ito ba ay election-related incident o work-related ba considering na tumatakbo as party-list representative ang asawa. (We will look at all possible angles in the shooting, whether this is an election-related or work-related incident considering that his wife is running for party-list representative.) We condemn this act of violence that should be resolved immediately,” Vega said.

Political climate

On Monday, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he would urge the PNP to get to the bottom of the ambush incident that targeted the Barandog couple on Sunday evening.

Rama said this should be solved immediately considering that the city is now in “upper gear in the political climate.”

The mayor added that there is a need for everybody to feel the city is safe, especially since the May 9 election is drawing near.

Rama does not think that the incident is election-related since he said Cebuanos were never known to create violence.

“I am more positive that we Cebuanos and even candidates we have never been known into wanting to create (election-related) violence,” said Rama.

During the 2019 elections, former mayor Osmeña, who lost his reelection bid that year, accused Barandog of harassing his supporters during the campaign period.

The former mayor also said Barandog was responsible for killing two tanods and a female supporter in Barangay Lusaran while the CCMFC served a search warrant in February 2019.

SunStar sought Osmeña’s comment on the Sunday ambush but did not receive a reply as of press time. (AYB, TPT, IRT)

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