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CITY GOV’T EMPLOYEE FALLS PREY TO SUSPECTED GUN-FOR-HIRE GROUP


CITY GOV’T EMPLOYEE FALLS PREY TO SUSPECTED GUN-FOR-HIRE GROUP
CALBAYOG CITY – A permanent employee of the city government was shot dead by men of a suspected crime group alleged to have been functioning as gun-for-hire for already some period of time in the province of Samar.

Joe Patrick Lentejas was pronounced dead several minutes after reaching the hospital where he was immediately brought. He was alone driving his black-hooded red Mitsubishi Mirage and was nearing his house when a group of armed men fired upon the car he was driving.

“According to the autopsy report, the bullet wounds on the victim’s body tell that there were ten (10) entry and seven (7) exit points. So, it is either the three other bullets exited on the same points where other bullets exited or the other three may have remained inside the body of the victim,” Calbayog OIC Police Chief, Superintendent Mateo Macale said.
CITY GOV’T EMPLOYEE FALLS PREY TO SUSPECTED GUN-FOR-HIRE GROUP
THE VICTIM:

Joe Patrick Mateo Lentejas, pet name “Joepat” was a Construction Maintenance General Foreman in the Office of the City Mayor. He was appointed to a permanent employment status in October 01, 2014.

Sometime in July 2017, he invited a group of media personnel from Tacloban City for a press conference. He informed the media group that his life is up for Php250,000.00. He needed to file a leave of absence from work for the longest period of time as he needed to be away from Calbayog to avoid a paid group of gun-for-hire who are out to knock him dead.

“I have a reliable information from one of the members of that armed group. It was his suggestion that I should leave and keep myself safe somewhere out of the city if I still want to live. So, leaving Calbayog, at least for the meantime but soon, is the only way I know to keep myself alive,” Lentejas told the media group.

For fear of endangering the life of his informant, Lentejas did not give a name. He just told the media that he trusts the man and do not see any reason why he would be feeding false information, particularly a death threat.

In November 20, 2017, Joepat was dead. He was killed by a group of armed men when the car he was driving was ambushed along San Mateo Street near his house in Barangay Matobato.

Before his employment with the city government, he served two terms as Barangay Chairman in Matobato. When he lost his bid for a third term, he was employed by the Samar provincial government assigned at the Calbayog District Hospital. During that employment period with the district hospital, he was also tasked as coordinator of scholarship plans and scholars of the provincial government until sometime in the 2013 when he left the political group of a former Samar governor and decided to support the candidacy of Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and his political group.
CITY GOV’T EMPLOYEE FALLS PREY TO SUSPECTED GUN-FOR-HIRE GROUP
CRIME SCENE AND TRACES:

The crime happened along San Mateo Street in Barangay Matobato - a car-line village some 3 kilometers north of the city’s commercial area. It happened at broad daylight – around 11:AM of November 20, 2017.

The Police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team was able to examine, investigate and record pieces of evidences from the crime scene. Contained in the report is the victim’s car, the gunmen’s motor bicycle, 45 pcs of caliber 9mm fired bullets, 10 caliber .45 fired bullets, 1 caliber 9mm live bullet, 6 deformed slugs of .45 caliber and 10 metallic fragments.

“Inside the ubox of the gunmen’s motor bicycle were found Identification Cards (ID Cards) in the name of Nestor Debuton – his Voter’s ID and a “Haring Bakal” ID. Haring Bakal ID is believed to be an identity of the group of people possessing an amulet. The amulet allegedly shields the member-ID holder from being killed by anybody but their kind,” the OIC Police Chief informed.

The city police chief further informed "that there are still pieces of evidences found inside the ubox which will be useful in the investigation of the case."
CITY GOV’T EMPLOYEE FALLS PREY TO SUSPECTED GUN-FOR-HIRE GROUP
THE SUSPECTS:

According to witnesses (whose names are withheld for security purposes), the gunmen started shooting and for a stretch of about 50 meters followed and continuously shot at the car while the victim was driving it from Maharlika Highway turning towards San Mateo Street where his house is located. Allegedly, the gunmen stopped firing only when the motorbike they were riding was rammed and pushed by the victim’s car unto a concrete fence rendering the gunmen’s vehicle immobile.

On earlier report that one of the gunmen aboard the motorbike suffered leg injury from having been hit and was seen limping away from their vehicle, the police chief informed that such information has not as yet been confirmed but will be a matter to look into in the CCTV footages.

“The police investigators is still reviewing the CCTV footages from the cameras within the area showing three suspects already on their feet scurrying away from their vehicle. Having three suspects in the video footages does not discount the probability of having other perpetrators who participated in the crime, aside from those three who are visible in the CCTV footages,” Macale said.

“Nestor Debuton, whose ID Cards were found inside the ubox of their motorbike, is facing a case of Murder relative the killing of a 9-year-old girl in October 15. 2017 in Barangay Cogon, this city, when he was accused of shooting at the girl when no one faced his challenge for a fight,” Macale said.

On information that the name of suspect Debuton also surfaced as one of the two suspects in a shooting incident that killed a court employee and a civilian, and wounded a policeman in a gasoline station in Barangay Carayman earlier this year, P/Supt. Macale said “that there is still no progress about the case.”

Referring to the death of Lentejas, Macale further disclosed “that there are pieces of evidences seen inside the ubox that will lead the police to persons-of-interest in the case, the two other company as captured in the CCTV and the probable cohorts of the prime suspect Debuton.”
CITY GOV’T EMPLOYEE FALLS PREY TO SUSPECTED GUN-FOR-HIRE GROUP
POLICE ACTION:

“We are in a sustained manhunt operations for the suspects just as we are continuously reviewing footages available from CCTV cameras of the barangay and the dash cam from the victim’s car,” P/Supt. Macale emphasized.

On information that the family of the victim has retained the services of a private lawyer in filing a case against the suspects, the police chief assured that the PNP will provide all the assistance that the family will need in terms of evidences, investigation, etc. for the purpose of achieving justice for the victim.

“All records of investigation and evidences in this case will be saved and will be readily made available for the Court in support to the case that will be filed by the family of Lentejas against Debuton and his cohorts,” Macale assured.(CJ)


-, November 29, 2017


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