Protectors of illegal gambling behind SIV drive-by shooting?
posted 29-Oct-2019  ·  
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THE OPERATION OF COLOR GAMES, reportedly rampant in several towns in Catanduanes, is suspected to be one of the motives being considered in last week’s hail of bullets un-leashed by two armed men at the house of PCpl Dan Bagay in San Isidro Village, Virac.

Unscrupulous police officers protecting illegal gambling operations in the island could be behind last week’s drive-by shooting that targeted an outspoken law enforcer’s home in San Isidro Village, Virac.

This is among the possible motives being considered in the incident involving PCpl. Dan Sabeniano Bagay, 34, formerly of the Provincial Special Operations Team (PSOT) and now of the Pandan police station.

The Virac police had earlier reported that at 12 A.M. of Oct. 9, 2019, two unknown perpetrators wearing black jackets and helmets and riding a black scooter, fired a Cal. 45 pistol five times at Bagay’s house.

The bullets hit the front of the policeman’s Hyundai Eon which was parked inside the garage of his family residence at Imperial Homes Subdivision.

Cpl. Bagay reported the incident to the police the following morning, prompting the station to request personnel of the Catanduanes Provincial Crime Laboratorty Office (CATPCLO) to process the scene. 

As of presstime, the police have yet to release the results of their investigation or identify the suspects.

In a phone interview with the Tribune, Bagay disclosed that recently, he had angered some ranking police officers recently when he criticized on facebook the rampant operation of color games and lotteng in the province of Catanduanes..

In a post on Sept. 21, 2019, when he was still a PSOT member, the police officer showed several pictures of a color game being operated in San Andres with minors among the bettors, one of whom was wearing a PNP athletic uniform.

His comment on the post said: “Masakit talaga..sayang lang na may gakapila na dai pa nakontinto sa sahod ninda ultimo kagyamong gambling pipatulan..mkasupogon lalo na kung halangkaw ang ranggo mo..”

Shortly thereafter, he said, all the PSOT operatives were ordered to report to Camp Camacho every morning and afternoon, regardless of whether they were out on the field on a mission.

Feeling constricted by the new policy, Cpl. Bagay reportedly requested Catanduanes provincial director Col. Paul Abay for a transfer to his original unit, the Pandan police station.

In the wake of the shooting incident, Bagay said in his fb account that in his nine years of service, he desired nothing but the bright future of his home island, applying for countless search warrants against illegal acts, confiscating 106 air compressors used in illegal fishing as well as chainsaws and millions worth of illegally-cut lumber as a member of the team tasked to enforce environmental laws.

“Mahal ko ang ating isla yan ang rason kung bakit sobra sobra ang aking pagprotekta.. Marami na tayong nabangga na kapwa pulis na involve sa mga illegal, tayo ang nagsiwalat ng kanilang mga maling gawain. ..Hindi po tayo titigil sa ating nasimulan at hindi nyo po ako matatakot sa inyong mga maling gawain…,” he said.

The drive-by shooting happened almost a week after Bagay was given separate commendations for his work by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 for his accomplishments, apparently in connection with his nomination for the Search of The Outstanding Catandunganons (TOCA)

On Oct. 2, 2019, the DENR-PENRO Catanduanes headed by officer-in-charge Ferdinand Baltazar issued a commendation to the police officer “for his invaluable contribution and exemplary effort in the conduct of forest protection and law enforcement activities pursuant to PD 705 as amended and other Forestry Laws, Rules and Regulations and RA 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002, which resulted to the apprehension of numerous volume of lumber and chainsaws in the province.”

BFAR Provincial Fishery Officer Jorge Camacho also expressed his appreciation to Bagay’s unwavering support to fishery regulatory activities in the island, as his intervention as PSOT member led to the apprehension of 106 compressors, apprehension of dynamite fishers and illegal traders of undocumented fishery commodities.

RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras said Cpl. Bagay “displayed all the sterling and enviable qualities of a police officer” and contributed to an improved and strengthened law enforcement, as evidenced by his implementing 43 search warrants for illegal drugs, gambling, logging, firearms and explosives, and illegal fishing.

This latest controversy is not the first time for Bagay, who was pulled out of the Pandan police station in 2017 and assigned to guard the gate at Camp Simeon Ola together with whistleblower PO1 Vincent Tacorda, who later recanted his claims regarding extrajudicial killings in Catanduanes.

In January that year, a source inside Camp Francisco Camacho has claimed that senior officers of the Catanduanes Police Public Safety Company (CATPPSC) were involved in irregularities in the anti-criminality campaign.

The explosive expose said that the erring officers had been engaging in a local version of the “hulidap” targeting smugglers of illegally-cut lumber, particularly the expensive narra specie.

A search of the company quarters unearthed flitches of narra lumber, which the officers claimed were stockpiled prior to turnover to the DENR.

The whistleblower also claimed that the officers also receive five kilos of fish a week from operators of illegal fishing in Baras.

A few weeks later came Bagay’s relief and reassignment to the regional office, much to the anger and disappointment of the 2016 recipient of the PNP Bicol Medalya ng Kagalingan for his role, along with seven others, in the recovery of 71 bundles of shabu worth P2 million in Pandan.

The officer, who recently admitted he was the one who discovered the narra stockpile inside Camp Camacho, described as “insulting” the fact that some in the police ranks are protecting illegal activities.

“Hindi ko alam kung saan ako lulugar,” Bagay said, adding that he is only a police corporal. “Kawawa naman ang isla natin. Ginagatasan lang tayo.”

He also figured in a run-in with Virac police officer-in-charge Maj. Bon Billy Timuat on Oct. 1, 2019 while the Pandan policeman was representing Kabalikat Civicom 955 Catanduanes Chapter in the road clearing validation team of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

According to Bagay’s version of the incident as recorded in the Virac police blotter, he was at the parking lot of Virac Hometel at 5:40 P.M. that day for the finalization of the validation report together with DILG provincial director Uldarico Razal Jr., and representatives of the DILG regional office, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) when Maj. Timuat called his attention.

“P_____a!!! Wag kang epal, umalis ka dito, alam ko kung gaano ka karumi,” the Virac police chief allegedly told him.

Afterwards, Bagay went back to the hut where the meeting was being held and sought permission from Dir. Razal to leave, recounting to him what Maj. Timuat said.

The Kabalikat 955 group is reportedly filing a complaint against Virac’s top cop.

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