Ex-cop shoots chief in Alcoy, Cebu

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Monday, August 25, 2014

CEBU CITY (Updated) -- The police chief of Alcoy in southern Cebu was shot and killed allegedly by a barangay councilman outside the town’s gymnasium late Sunday night.

Inspector Crisanto Abella, 44, of Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, died after getting shot in the head, shoulder, armpit and leg, said PO3 Emilio Carungay, chief investigator of the Alcoy Police Station.

The suspect, 56-year-old Ciriaco de los Santos Jr., surrendered after his family asked him to yield following a gunfight with police. He is the mayor’s first cousin.


De los Santos is a former policeman who was dismissed after he went absent without an official leave (AWOL), before becoming a two-term councilman of Barangay Poblacion, Alcoy.

Investigator Carungay said the shooting took place at 11:30 p.m. last Sunday after Abella, along with other policemen, patrolled around the gym, where a boxing event was held as a pre-fiesta celebration.

De los Santos allegedly saw Abella, who wore a sleeveless shirt and dark pants, and asked the police chief to drink beer with him.

Carungay said that Abella gave in to the request because they were friends, but their conversation turned sour.

De los Santos reportedly asked Abella what he would do about the crooks in their area. Some unscrupulous men have reportedly been pretending to be police officers and harassing some vendors in Barangay Nug-as.

Councilman yields after Alcoy shooting
CEBU. Hot wax is poured over the hands of Barangay Councilman Ciriaco delos Santos, 56, a former policeman who was linked to the fatal shooting of Alcoy Police Station Chief Crisanto Abella, an inspector who was 12 years his junior. (Alex Badayos)


When Abella went outside the gym, he was allegedly shot several times with a .45 pistol by de los Santos.

The gunfire prompted spectators to scamper, and some of them got hurt during the rush. The boxing event was also stopped.

De los Santos, who had been drinking, allegedly took a 9mm pistol from Abella and ran to a small hut several meters away from the crime scene.

The Alcoy police asked for help from the Boljoon Police Station and surrounded the suspect. De los Santos allegedly fired at the policemen, who returned fire, a situation that lasted at least 30 minutes.

Alcoy Mayor Nick de los Santos, who went to the scene, called on the family of the suspect to ask him to surrender, and the barangay councilman later obeyed.

Seized from his possession were a .45 pistol with 12 rounds of live ammunition and the 9mm pistol owned by Abella.

Alcoy, Cebu police chief killed
LAST DRINK. Insp. Crisanto Abella (inset, left), Alcoy chief of police, was conducting a roving patrol when Poblacion Barangay Councilor Ciriaco delos Santos (inset, right) offered him a drink late Sunday night. It turned out to be Abella's last, as the drinking spree resulted in a confrontation that led to delos Santos shooting the police officer dead. (Photos used with permission from Dario Gil)

Mayor’s say

Abella was rushed to the Julio Cardinal Rosales Memorial Hospital in the neighboring town of Dalaguete, but died there a few minutes later.

At the crime scene, three empty shells from a .45 pistol were found by the police, along with one of the slippers Abella had worn.

The mayor, when interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu, said he saw Abella and de los Santos before the incident, and that both appeared drunk.

He recalled asking SPO2 Primitivo Carungay, the town’s deputy police chief, to ask Abella to go home.

Daghan kaayong tawo nakakita na niya unya bastos na ba (A lot of people saw him and things were getting vulgar),” the mayor said.

However, the police chief allegedly got irked when told by Carungay about the mayor’s request.

The mayor said he will ask Senior Superintendent Noel Gillamac, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), to find Abella’s replacement.

Alcoy, Cebu police chief killed
CRIME SCENE. This is where Insp. Crisanto Abella (inset, left), Alcoy chief of police, was shot dead late Sunday night following a confrontation with Poblacion Barangay Councilor Ciriaco delos Santos. (Sun.Star Cebu photo/Davinci S. Maru)

New career

Inside the Alcoy Police Station’s detention cell, De los Santos refused to issue a statement when Sun.Star Cebu asked about the shooting incident.

Dili lang sa ko mo-comment ana (I’d rather not comment for now),” he said.

De los Santos was a Private First Class or Police Officer 1 before he was dismissed in 1991. He went abroad and worked for a cargo shipping company. He returned to the Philippines in early 2000 and joined politics. During the last barangay elections in 2013, De los Santos said, he garnered the highest number of votes among the barangay’s council members.

The deputy police chief, in a separate interview, said that De los Santos had been involved in a murder case in 1980s, but it was dismissed.

Apart from that, Carungay alleged that De los Santos has been tagged in several shooting incidents, but no complaint has been filed against him.

Carungay will assume as officer-in-charge of the police station.

‘A good man’

Crime scene investigators from the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) also conducted a paraffin test on Abella and de los Santos to look for gunpowder burns, which would show they recently fired a gun.

Superintendent Renato Malazarte, CPPO’s deputy provincial director for administration, also went to Alcoy to supervise the investigation.

Abella’s partner, Geraldine Dosdos, 28, said that the police chief hadn’t told her about having any enemy or anyone who may have held a grudge against him.

Wala gyud na siya’y kontra man. Buotan ra na siya nga tawo (He had not enemies. He was a good man),” she said.

Abella’s wake will be held in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, while the police team he left behind prepare a criminal complaint for murder against de los Santos. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 26, 2014.

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