A RETIRED police official who figured in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug list was gunned down by two unidentified men onboard a motorcycle in Barangay Luz, Cebu City on Friday morning, Jan. 8, 2021.
Retired Police Lt. Col. Renato Malazarte, 54, died just 30 minutes after he was rushed to a nearby hospital by emergency responders.
Witnesses told police that at around 10 a.m. Friday, Malazarte was carrying butane canisters from his house in Sitio Cabantan, Barrio Luz, to his car when two men aboard a black motorcycle approached him and gunned him down with a .45 caliber pistol.
To ensure that they finished the job, one of the two assailants stepped off the vehicle and fired at Malazarte, close range, while the former cop lay bleeding on the ground.
Witnesses who were in shock failed to see where the suspects fled after the killing.
Mabolo Police Station investigators led by MSgt. Nicolo Gonzales recovered four empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.
Gonzales said witnesses could not clearly identify the two suspects and also failed to get the plate number of the motorcycle.
“I was shocked as they shot Malazarte right in front of me. They shot him in the head, then in the chest,” an eyewitness told Superbalita Cebu in Cebuano.
Police Col. Josefino Ligan, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) director, ordered the Mabolo Police Station to conduct an in-depth investigation on Malazarte’s murder.
Ligan urged investigators to closely coordinate with Malazarte’s family to determine if the retired police official received death threats prior to the incident.
Probers have yet to determine the killers’ possible motive, but they will check on Malazarte’s previous work for possible leads.
Malazarte’s neighbors in Barrio Luz were saddened by the retired policeman’s death.
They said Malazarte was known for his generosity and kindness.
Malazarte was one of 50 police officers from Central Visayas reassigned to the then Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (now the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) in August 2016 after they were linked to illegal drugs in one of President Duterte’s narco-lists.
After six months working in ARMM, Malazarte applied for optional retirement in 2017.
Malazarte then got into many businesses including managing his own restaurant in the City of Naga, southern Cebu, and running a butane refilling business.
Before his transfer to ARMM, Malazarte was deputy director for administration of the Cebu Provincial Police Office.
Malazarte is the second high-profile victim of unsolved shootings in Cebu City since Jan. 1 when controversial businessman and former San Fernando mayoralty candidate Ruben Feliciano was gunned down by unidentified suspects outside his rented apartment in Barangay Apas, Cebu City. / AYB / JKV