CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy held back the multimillion-peso reward he promised to give those who helped catch his son’s killers as the arrest of a suspect in Lanao del Norte on Saturday, July 30, raised more questions about the 2021 murder.
Uy said he was convinced that the arrested suspect, Edgardo Gaabucayan, was one of those who carried out the November 11, 2021 gun attack in Barangay Pagatpat, Cagayan de Oro, based on the evidence he saw, but his family is not yet satisfied because the police work on the case was still ongoing.
The 45-year-old Roland Sherwin Uy, a barangay councilor of Carmen; and his 75-year-old aide, Samuel Pabalan, were shot and killed by at least two gunmen while they were manning a quarry site, police said.
Police said Gaabucayan and a second suspect were hired guns.
Uy said authorities have yet to identify the brains behind the murders at a family-owned quarry site in Pagatpat, and establish the motive for his son’s murder.
Cagayan de Oro police chief Colonel Aaron Mandia said investigators have concluded that the twin murders resulted from a personal grudge, but could not say exactly what it was all about.
Mandia said investigators were looking into the possible involvement of a businessman that the younger Uy had a spat with.
Mayor Uy said his late son had confided to him in 2018 that he quarreled with a contractor whose quarry operations he had stopped for allegedly damaging the barangay roads in Pagatpat.
“The killing of Sherwin was due to a personal grudge, and not politically motivated,” Mandia said.
Uy told reporters he did not confront Gaabucayan and neither did he see nor talk to the suspect who was detained at the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) headquarters, which is near his house in Carmen.
“I do not feel any hatred toward him. I leave the investigation to the police. I trust them to bring the killers of my son to justice,” Uy said.
He assured that his family would fulfill their promise to give P4 million as a reward but only after they were already satisfied, and get assured that justice would be served.
Aside from the P4 million from the Uy family, there were other pledges of rewards, amounting to some P8 million, from different people and groups last year.
“I know the case will be solved soon because the police have not stopped their investigation,” Uy said.
The Pagatpat murders took place shortly after the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2022 elections.
After a police briefing on Monday, August 1, Uy said he was convinced that the 59-year-old Gaabucayan was not a fall guy.
“I saw the video and other evidence that implicated him,” Uy told reporters.
Major Gerson Santanilla, the commander of a police station handling the case, said they were still looking for a second gunman who shot and killed Roland Sherwin.
Santanilla said Gaabucayan was the one who shot Pabalan, who served as the caretaker of the quarry site in Zone 1, Barangay Pagatpat.
“We are still looking for the second gunman. It’s hard because no one saw him,” Santanilla said.
Santanilla said a witness, a truck driver, identified Gaabucayan and saw him shoot Pabalan.
He said the witness and Gaabucayan had some interaction before the murders took place.
Three days after the 2021 murders, Cagayan de Oro police spokesman Major Evan Viñas said investigators concluded that there were two gunmen after they found out that different bullets were used in the twin attacks.
Viñas said crime scene investigators found out that five of the six bullets in Uy’s body were fired from the same gun while the sixth bullet was from another pistol, the weapon used on Pabalan.
Authorities arrested Gaabucayan at his house in Purok 6, Barangay Cabasagan, Lala town in Lanao del Norte over the weekend.
Gabucayan declined to speak to reporters, but police said the suspect admitted to being a former member of the New People’s Army’s dreaded liquidation squad, the Sparrow unit. – Rappler.com