GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 Aug) – A rookie cop being hunted by authorities after he shot dead a fisherman here is now in the custody of the police.
Patrolman Jade Rio Mantua, 31, a member of Regional Mobile Force Battalion 12, was accompanied by his superiors, Lt. Col. Ronald Allan Peñaverde and Maj. Rodel Javison, when he gave himself up at the Tambler Police Station on Thursday evening.
Lt. Clarizel Perez, spokesperson of the city police office, said Mantua surrendered his issued handgun, a 9mm Zigana PX-9, which he allegedly used in shooting to death Rusty Cariaga Dumas, 35 years old and father of three. The gun was turned over to the crime laboratory for ballistic examination.
Investigation showed that Mantua and Dumas had a heated altercation which could have triggered the cop to shoot Dumas to the head, killing him instantly.
The two have had a drink too many, said witnesses who saw them at a neighbor’s funeral wake where they were also seen arguing.
The tragic incident took place past 7 a.m. at the house of the policeman in Block 3, Purok Diamond Valley, Barangay Tambler, this city. The cop and the victim were reportedly relatives.
Perez said Mantua fled after shooting and efforts to reach him by phone failed, prompting authorities to launch a manhunt. He would later meet with his superiors who turned him over to the city police.
Mantua’s colleagues believed there could be a much deeper reason why their fellow policeman shot his relative other than the usual teasing he gets in the neighborhood for seemingly being effeminate.
A fellow policeman said they have been trained how to handle such situations, like mocking their personalities or being cops. “We have been subjected to humiliation and embarrassment at the training center para hindi madaling mapikon at kayang harapin yung actual na pangungutya (so one won’t easily get pissed off and can properly handle the teasing),” he said.
A brother of Dumas’s live-in partner, Nelson Gonzaga, said they will pursue a case against Mantua for the sake of his nephews. “Pagabayran niya iyang gihimo, dili mi magpaareglo (He will pay for what he did, we won’t allow a negotiated settlement),” he said
The killing of Dumas brings to 42 the number of deaths related to gun attacks in this city since January this year. Half of these numbers were already considered solved with suspects identified and cases filed in court.
But unlike Dumas’s death, the rest were perpetrated by motorcycle-riding gunmen and attributed by police to personal grudges due to land conflict and illegal drugs. (Rommel G Rebollido / MindaNews)