CPPO to look into death of fisherman
CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Police Office is conducting an investigation into the alleged encounter that killed a fisherman in Barangay Atop-atop, Bantayan town last Sunday.
CPPO director Sr. Supt. Manuel Abrugena promised to look into the incident after a group of fishermen, accompanied by a barangay councilman, from the island visited radio station dyHP yesterday to complain.
Ronnie Batiancila, 41, denied there was a shootout. He also denied the group was fishing at the marine sanctuary. Batiancila told dyHP that they were about 300 meters away from the sanctuary when the police fired upon them killing Arnel Derder Marabi, 33, a resident of Barangay Hilantagaan, Sta. Fe town.
The police claimed that the victim fired at them using an improvised shotgun locally known as “sumpak.” Marabi’s companion, Michael Dela Cruz Dignos, 38, also a resident of Barangay Hilantagaan, was arrested during the operation.
Barangay Hilantagaan Councilman Cruz Bragat, 49, accompanied the fishermen to dyHP yesterday. Bragat said he first responded to the alleged shootout and was told by the police that a group of illegal fishers fired at them.
The police allegedly showed to him an axe supposedly seized from the illegal fishers.
“Gipakita niya nako atsa. Di na mao dalhon sa mga mananagat. Dili man mi mag-uuma,” Bragat said over the radio.
But when Marabi died at the Bantayan District Hospital, the police already claimed that the suspect was armed with sumpak.
“Pag-abot sa hospital naa daw armas sumpak, ingon ganina sir ang dala atsa unya karon sumpak na?” Bragat recalled asking the police.
Abrugena said he will have it investigated to find out what really happened. He said there were really incidents in the past that police operatives are being fired upon by illegal fishermen in the area. — Imarie Madarieta / FPL (FREEMAN)