Ace darts player allegedly shot by police

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

GODWIN Vergara who was killed by unidentified gunman on Thursday dawn was supposed to represent Cagayan de Oro City in a national darts competition in Kidapawan City today.

Cagayan de Oro Darters Association (Coda) former president Duel Bacarro described Vergara as a darts aficionado who knew his craft.

Vergara and Bacarro have known each other for five years.


"I met him in 2009. As far as I know, he is everyone's friend. Whenever we get to see in the dart's club every Friday, he greets everyone in the house," Bacarro told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro Friday evening.

Bacarro could not see any point why his colleague was shot to death.

Godwin eldest son (name withheld) was woken up by a nightmare on Thursday dawn.

Trembling and in the brink of tears, the son recounted how terrible it is losing his father.

"I woke up in bad dreams at that dawn. I was not able to get to back to sleep. I was uneasy since they were not yet home at 3 in the morning. Bad things were running on in my mind until a van arrived and fetched us," he told this paper.

"Losing him is hard. When he was in the emergency room, his face full of blood showed his worries and pain. I could see in his eyes he wanted to revenge and seek for justice. As his son, it pains me seeing my dad in that state," he added.

Vergara, 37, resident of Barangay Barra, Opol in Misamis Oriental, was shot dead in the head twice around 2:30 a.m. Thursday near the corner of Tomas Saco-15th streets, Barangay Nazareth.

Godwin’s wife Relanie in a TV Patrol report said a police shot her husband citing they had earlier an altercation with police after the latter was accused of motorcycle theft.


Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) chief Senior Superintendent Graciano Mijares opened the investigation on the alleged involvement of a police in the shooting incident.

Mijares ordered the city's City Investigation Detective and Management Branch (CIMB) chief Superintendent Adonis Mutia to immediately begin the probe to clear a police officer from accusation in the public's eye.

"Likewise, we will welcome investigation by other units or agencies to prevent notion of any whitewash," Mijares told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro via text message Friday afternoon.


Although Relanie, 36, is convinced that a law enforcer had killed her husband, she could barely identify the suspect as the incident happened so fast.

"He was wearing a helmet. It was dark in that street. I could not identify him. I am only expecting that chances are a police killed my husband, but never have I pinpointed anyone," she told this paper.

Hours before the incident, a group of police officers from the Macasandig police station were on monitoring operations in a nearby restobar along the area where the incident occurred.

The police also left a motorcycle as bait for possible carjackers.

Relanie said they got offended after police accused them of being motorcycle theft.

"Vergara came to this bar to fetch his wife where she works as a cashier. While waiting outside, Vergara leaned on a motorcycle with me standing in front of him. The helmet mounted on the handlebars was about to fall so he put it properly," said Jacob, not his real name, the couple’s friend.

"These policemen who were not in uniform approached and asked us what we were doing. While discussions were ongoing, a policeman got angry when Vergara went to the bar's comfort room. Later, they invited us to come to the station," added Jacob.

Senior Inspector Ariel Pontillas, Macasandig police station commander, identified members of the roving team as SPO1 Agustine Maglangit, SPO1 Mark Anthony Daclag, PO3 Jimmy Vicente, PO2, Manolito Budo, PO1 Reynaldo Vivero.

Police were drinking

Relanie said the police were drinking at the bar where she works before they approached her husband.

However, Relanie debunked Pontillas' statement that they were "gracefully" escorted to the police precinct because to her they were "forced."

Relanie couldn’t find any other possible motives that may have caused the slaying of her husband.


Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, the five Macasandig police officers were in a dialogue at the station with the Vergaras and Jacob.

"More than 30 minutes after, we were settled verbally. Everything was okay. They said sorry, my husband said sorry because we all have faults," said Relanie.

However, she "never thought that something terrible would happen."


After the settlement at police station, Jacob drove the couple back to the restobar. Godwin was in the middle of Jacob and Relanie on board a motorcycle.

On their way to the restobar, an unidentified man on board a motorcycle aimed his gun at Vergara's head.

According to the autopsy by the Scene of the Crimes Operatives (Soco), the gun shots were aimed only two feet away while the victim was able to touch his feet to the ground that prevented them from falling.

Immediately, Jacob brought Vergara to a private hospital but was declared by doctors dead on arrival.

Relanie, however, questioned why the police were not able to respond immediately since the crime scene is only a five-minute ride from the precinct.


Amid the tarnished image of the police force in the city, Pontillas vowed to steer clear of this allegation by proving that none of his men was behind this incident.

"I am open to any investigation for the benefit of the doubt and I would just want to assure that our conscience is clear and that we have nothing to do with the incident. If we will find out that they are really involved they have to face [the] full force of law," said Pontillas.

Although he understood the sentiments of the wife, Pontillas challenged Relanie to identify the suspects to end speculations.

Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, Cocpo operations chief, said strong evidence should be provided.

"I believe Macasandig police should face investigation. The family also has to produce evidence for that matter," Gonda said.

Paraffin testing and ballistic examination will be conducted on the policemen allegedly involved to find out if any of the five named could be the suspect.

Five children

Godwin was self-employed who used to own a snack shop in Opol.

His son said he would miss the times when they played computer games together and joined dart tournaments.

Meanwhile, Relanie has no one to turn to. With her husband's untimely death, she is worried and confused on how to raise their five kids.

"We are just ordinary people. We wronged no one. I now fear what will happen to me, to my children and to my family," said Relanie, adding that she has not talked to her kids on what really happened.

"They (children) are slowly accepting the reality, but I have yet to explain to them the reason for their father’s death,” she added.

The Vergaras are urging the authorities for justice to be served.

Mayor Oscar Moreno in a report on TV Patrol said Mijares will remain in his post and booting him out isn’t the solution to the problems on crimes that hound the city.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 02, 2014.

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