By CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN
BISLIG City officials have cried foul over what they claimed as illegal entry of police operatives at the premises of thae city hall on Nov. 7 without a search warrant from the court to arrest the suspected lookout of gunmen who shot and killed radio broadcaster Christopher Lozada on Oct. 24.
City Mayor Librado Navarro said department heads at the city hall have sent a complaint letter to Interior Secretary Catalino Cuy and Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police, regarding the alleged illegal search of a government vehicle at the City General Services Office when they arrested the suspect Felixberto Villocino Jr.
The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Lozada led by Superintendent Cesar Paday-os, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection in Caraga region, raided the City General Services Office to search the Toyota Hi-Ace van believed to be used by the gunmen to kill Lozada, a staunch critic of Navarro who was Station manager of Prime FM Bislig.
Lozada, host of the public affairs program “Kuskos-Batikos,” died instantly. His girlfriend, Honey Faith Indog, was wounded.
Navarro said Paday-os led a group of 20 police operatives in full battle gear to raid the city hall to conduct the illegal search without even making a courtesy call to him before they carry out their mission.
The operatives recovered from Villocino, a hand grenade and a caliber 357 pistol.
“I am appealing to the concerned government agencies to please respect the local government of Bislig as an institution,” Navarro said in his message which was posted on his Facebook wall and shared by some netizens.
Paday-os was however relieved of his post a day after the raid and was replaced by Superintendent Jun Caduyac but the CIDG refused to make any statement to radio stations in Butuan City making live queries on their public affairs program last week.
Navarro described Villocino’s arrest as a “welcome development.”
He however raised concerns over what he said was a concerted effort by the Presidential Task Force on Media Security and the SITG Lozada to implicate him in Lozada’s murder, supposedly through Villocino.
Navarro, who has been tagged as a “person of interest” in Lozada’s death, had denied any involvement in the attack on the broadcaster.
He said even he was tagged as such, not one of any police investigator came to interrogate him personally, so that he could clear his name.
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