CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/28 August) – A member of the police Special Weapons and Action Team (SWAT) killed an inmate of the Misamis Oriental provincial jail after he hostaged and attempted to kill a political detainee on Sunday while the city was celebrating its fiesta.
The hostage victim, Vicente Libona, escaped with only a superficial wound on his chest after his hostage-taker stabbed him when policemen started to break their way into the jail compound.
City Police Director Senior Superintendent Ronnie Francis Cariaga said the hostage taker, Jomar Itong of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon died of multiple gunshot wounds when policemen fired at him during the rescue.
The hostage situation ended when four gunshots were heard after the police SWAT team entered the jail compound at around 1 p.m. Sunday.
Cariaga said the responding policemen had to fire the fatal shots when Itong allegedly started to stab Libona as they entered the compound.
He said the policemen were under instructions not to hurt Itong and was ordered to carry only pistols, not high-powered firearms.
“Itong was showing emotional stress and had become unreasonable. When our policemen entered the compound, he started hurting Libona,” Cariaga said.
“The police officers had no recourse but to shoot Itong. A total of four shots were fired at Itong,” he narrated.
Cariaga said the policemen were trying to end the three-hour hostage situation that started when Itong tried to electrocute his fellow inmates using a live electrical wire.
Talking to reporters, Libona, a political detainee, said Itong already showed signs of emotional stress late Satuday evening.
“He asked that his parents and brothers should visit him. He was agitated last Saturday night,” Libona said.
Libona said he found Itong trying to electrocute his fellow inmates Sunday morning but he was able to persuade him to abandon his plans.
“All of a sudden he grabbed me and pointed to my chest two improvised weapons that he fashioned into knives from the clothes hanger,” Libona said.
As the three-hour hostage situation dragged on, Libona said Itong was getiing more visibly upset and made several attempts to stab him.
When the police entered the compound, Libona narrated Itong stabbed him on the chest before the latter was killed by the policemen.
Libona is a former member of the New People’s Army. He was the co-accused of National Democratic Front consultant Alfredo Mapano who was released, in the robbery-homicide case filed before the Regional Trial Court Branch 17 in Cagayan de Oro, to join the NDF peace panel in Oslo, Norway, for the first round of formal talks under the Duterte administration last week. (Froilan Gallardo /MindaNews)