Butuan City

Basketball player’s slay sparks public outrage in Butuan City

Lynde Salgados
Basketball player’s slay sparks public outrage in Butuan City
The killers of popular Butuan basketball player Jerry John Apas, known as the 'Allan Caidic of Butuan,' leave a 'drug addict' cardboard sign beside his body

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The chairman of the Butuan City Council’s peace and order committee called on authorities to put an end to the spate of killings in Caraga region’s capital city after a prominent local sportsman was killed by gunmen on Thursday, June 16.

Popular Butuan basketball player Jerry John Apas was shot in broad daylight by two still unidentified men shortly after he left the barangay hall of Ongyui in downtown Butuan.

The gunmen pumped at least seven bullets into his body, and then left a cardboard sign beside him that alleged, “Drug adik, salot sa lipunan (Drug addict, a menace in society).”

The 43-year-old sportsman was known as the “Allan Caidic of Butuan” because of his propensity to hit baskets from the 3-point line.

Apas’ death came months after the Philippine National Police (PNP) order in March to step up street-level anti-illegal drug operations. Law enforcers were directed to return to the streets to carry out an “endgame strategy” in the government’s war on drugs.

Butuan City Councilor Ehrnest John Sanchez, chairman of the city council’s committee on police and public safety, condemned the brutal killing, and said Thursday was “a sad day for us and the rest of the basketball community of this city.” 

Sanchez noted that Apas was shot dead in the morning along the busy Montilla Boulevard.

“It is one of the busiest main thoroughfares in our place. It is unimaginable that these cold-blooded perpetrators managed to perform this abominable act in broad daylight and with numerous people around,” said Sanchez.

He called on authorities to stop the shooting deaths in Butuan because “our people are scared.”

“This must be the last,” Sanchez added.

Apas’ killing started a firestorm among Butuan netizens and even the victim’s fellow sportsmen.

Netizen Argil Robles took to social media and posted, “Kahadlok na ba sa Butuan oi; halos naa patay permi (It’s so frightening now in Butuan; we always see killings).” Robles said it felt like there were no cops in Butuan.

Loloy Fortun, another known local basketball player, paid tribute to Apas, calling him “an excellent outside shooter and a champion who had won many fans and admirers even though he was past his prime.”

Fortun said Apas had remained active in the group of former varsity players who gathered every Saturday for their basketball sessions.

“He was really good in basketball,” said Butuan-based coach and trainer Gary Logen Radaza. – Rappler.com