On-cam killer part of ‘Pasaway Gang’ used by syndicate, police say

01/08/2011 - MANILA, Philippines—On-cam killer Arnel Buenaflor may have been merely used as a pawn by syndicate financiers and a top honcho who gives the latter instructions and wanted barangay councilman Reynaldo Dagsa dead because of his anti-crime efforts.

In an interview with the Inquirer, Chief Inspector Cresencio Galvez, chief of the Coloocan police’s intelligence unit, said that the capture of Buenaflor in Isabela on Friday has not closed the case of the slain councilman since Buenaflor and his cohorts would not have had the guts to act on their own considering Dagsa’s reputation as a trained military man who had the support of his constituents.

“He (Dagsa) was a known gun shooter in the area and there were a lot of people supporting him. The Pasaway Gang had the guts to square off with him because they have a backer who finances their activities,” Galvez said.

Galvez reiterated that Dagsa had been targeted for assassination because he was effective in neutralizing street gangs and syndicates in the area.

He said the financiers, who supply the Pasaway Gang with money, guns and ammunition, and target lists for assassination, act upon the instructions of the top man.

“The financiers hire the Pasaway Gang, which in turn does what it has been instructed to do,” he said.

Dagsa supposedly incurred the ire of Buenaflor when he stood as a principal witness against the latter and Michael Gonzales alias Michael Rollon, in an attempted murder case filed by Henry Decilio, a close friend of Dagsa and fellow crime crusader, on November 5, 2010 in the Caloocan City Prosecutor’s Office.

Galvez said that although Buenaflor’s motive for killing Dagsa may have been personal vendetta, the financiers and the top man had their own motives and stood to gain from the councilman’s killing. That’s why they have been financing the gang’s activities, he said.

When pressed for names by the Inquirer, Galvez refused to divulge any, lest the police’s investigation, he said, be jeopardized.

“Suffice it to say that the financiers are based in nearby cities and police are zeroing in on them,” he said.

In a previous interview with the Inquirer, Dagsa’s widow Arlene expressed doubt that Buenaflor masterminded her husband’s assassination.

“I want to ask him, what was his reason for killing my husband. Was it because of politics? Did someone pay him to do it?” she said.

At the victim’s family home in Caloocan City, a Mass was held Saturday morning in honor of the slain councilman.

Second Lieutenant Pablo Bilangel, operations officer of the 1301st Camanava Community Defense Center of the Army Reserve Command, told the Inquirer that military honors would be bestowed on Dagsa on Sunday.

“He was a member of the Army Reserve Command, and we take cognizance of his exemplary efforts as a peacekeeper in Barangay 35,” he said.

Bilangel’s unit also handles the 1501st Brigade to which Dagsa, a reserve corporal, was attached.

Bilangel said that Dagsa will be given a 21-gun salute by a seven-man composite team during his interment at the Eternal Garden cemetery in Caloocan. Each member of the team will fire three shots simultaneously to honor their fallen comrade.

The draping of the Philippine flag over the coffin of Dagsa will precede the gun salute.

In attendance, he said, will be the commanding officer of the 1301st Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Melecio Castillo, and fellow soldiers.

Senior Superintendent Jude Santos, Caloocan chief of police, said in an interview that the arrest of Buenaflor was the result of systematic and coordinated police work.

Galvez said that the first to fall were Buenaflor’s two accomplices, Frederick Sales and Gonzales. Sales was arrested on Dimasalang Street, Manila, on January 2. He revealed to the police the whereabouts of Gonzales.

On January 3, Gonzales was arrested in Tondo.

Buenaflor was apprehended six days after the killing.

He was transferred Saturday morning to the Caloocan City Jail from the police station in Aurora, Isabela, and was to be formally charged with murder later in the day at the Caloocan City Prosecutor’s Office.

Galvez said police were still searching for two other lookouts during the murder of Dagsa. They were identified as Rommel Oliva alias Balong and Francis Bronjal.

“We are also focusing on the financiers and the big boss,” Galvez added.(Inquirer. net)

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