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Cop who linked PNP execs to drugs found dead

August 17, 2016 ·  By Norman Mendoza for newsinfo.inquirer.net

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CEBU CITY—PO2 Ryan Casiban left his post as desk officer of the police station in Cordova town in northern Cebu province early morning of Aug. 10, even if his shift had yet to end. Two days later, his decomposing body was found on a vacant lot near a firing range in Lapu-Lapu City, with a bullet wound in the head.

Investigators were looking into the possibility that his death was connected to entries he wrote in the police blotter before he disappeared, which implicated two retired police officers in the illegal drug trade.

Retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot and Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo were among the five retired and active police officials earlier named by President Duterte as suspected protectors of big-time drug lords based on intelligence reports.

Casiban’s widow, Chona, also wanted the truth behind his death. She found it unbelievable that her husband killed himself—a theory being considered by the officer’s colleagues in the Cordova police.
At 3 a.m. on Aug. 10, Casiban, 37, walked out of the police station, bringing with him his government-issued M-16 rifle. Befire he left on a motorcycle, he wrote the blotter entries that accused Loot and Garbo of being involved in illegal drugs.

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GARBO

Loot, now mayor of Daanbantayan town, told the Inquirer on Sunday that he did not know Casiban since the policeman was never under him when he was with the Philippine National Police. Garbo could not be reached for comment.

One of Casiban’s entries read: “Gen. Garbo and Gen. Loot are drug syndicate of the Phils. Because of money protected by his men, PNP organization to stop illegal drugs.” Casiban signed the entry.

Mere ‘ramblings’

Another, on Page 153, read: “Gen. Garbo and Gen. Loot drug syndicate of the Phils. Because of big drug money protected by his men PNP organization.” Also found on the page was blotter entry No. 0106: “I want to write what is justice for all to stop all illegal drugs. God is in me.”

Loot said the entries were mere “ramblings” and did not directly implicate him to the illegal drug trade. He said Casiban’s position in Cordova did not give him access to the intelligence report that reached Mr. Duterte.
He lamented that he had been judged “guilty” until he could prove his innocence. It was unfair, he said, that he was tried in the media, and not the courts.

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LOOT

Senior Insp. Jomar Medil, Cordova police chief, said Casiban’s last known phone call was made to Senior Insp. Zosimo Jabas Jr., the former police chief. Casiban reportedly sought the help of Jabas because another Cordova policeman, PO3 Jonathan Tajanlangit, was allegedly threatening his life.

Good friends

“I am being hunted by the men of Atan Tajanlangit. Help me, sir, because I want to surrender to [President] Duterte,” Casiban was quoted as having told Jabas in Cebuano.

Medil and SPO2 Laurencio Wagwag, another desk officer, said there was no open animosity between Casiban and Tajanlangit. They were “good friends,” Medil said.

At 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, the Lapu-Lapu police found Casiban’s motorcycle, rifle and uniform in the city’s Sitio Naga, Barangay Babag II. His body was found two days later in the grassy area near Wanderland Firing Range in Barangay Agus, also in Lapu-Lapu.

Orlen Cantal, 33, of Barangay Agus, was hunting spiders with a friend when he found the body. Police retrieved an identification card in his wallet, a 9mm Glock pistol with three magazines and 23 bullets, his mobile phone and a pair of handcuffs.

While his colleagues suspected suicide based on the bullet wound found in the right side of his head, PO3 Luisito Ernie, Lapu-Lapu police homicide investigator, said an autopsy would determine any foul play in Casiban’s death.

Chona said she did not notice anything wrong on the night of Aug. 9, when her husband bid her and their four young children goodbye as he went to work. With a report from Connie Fernandez, Inquirer Visayas

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