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ROUGH CUTS | ‘Oplan Katok’: A bit late but…

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Director Col. Alberto Lupaz on Wednesday announced that the Special Investigating Task Group (SITG) probing the rape-slay of a lady architect in Calinan will be conducting its so-called “Oplan Katok” Operation in an effort to locate the missing Umbac tricycle used in the commission of the heinous crime. 

Many have expressed surprise in the announcement. The reason is of course obvious. Imagine it took the police investigators one month before using the approach in determining the ownership of the Umbac tricycle and locating the same! Yet they already claimed to have established the identities of the suspects except one.

We have no doubt that many will agree with us that had the police probers worked earlier on identifying the ownership of the tricycle allegedly used in abducting the victim first before raping and killing her, it would have been easier for them to validate their suspects as the vehicle owner will surely disclosed who was driving the tricycle on that day.

On the other hand Colonel Lupaz claimed that it would take some time to establish the ownership of the Umbac unit because according to him the investigators will have to conduct the “Oplan Katok” to the houses of some one thousand or more Umbac unit owners.

There was however something unclear on the claim of Lupaz about the total number of Umbac units. When he mentioned over a thousand of the model had been sold he did not mention if the figure is for the Calinan area alone or for the entire Davao City. We are residing in an area closed to Calinan and we are in the said barangay proper every week-end to accompany the wife in her marketing chores. We are certain that the Umbacs plying the Calinan area do not reach that number.

Our take on the matter therefore is for the police and other law enforcing unit probers to zero in their “Oplan Katok” on houses of Umbac operators residing in Calinan. After all, it is inarguable that the unit owner is a Calinan resident. And why are we certain about it? Simple, the suspects arrested by law enforcement agents and those abducted by whoever shadowy vigilante group/s, are all known to be living in Calinan and its neighboring barangays.

Our claim of the possibility that the owner of the Umbac tricycle is from Calinan is therefore buttressed by the fact that all the suspects are from the area. After all, who is the one unit owner who would have his tricycle driven or rented by someone who is not familiar with him or her?

Honestly, we are just wondering why the SITG is applying the reverse of the common adage on “placing the horse before the cart.” In the Bragas case the probers seem to “place the horse after the cart” instead.

But of course it is the better discretion to give the SITG the opportunity to do the “Oplan Katok” if what will come out in the end is the full closure of the Bragas rape-slay case. The task group may have taken a different approach in their investigation but if it is willing to accept some  recommended adjustments, then it could only mean the humility of the group members is likely to lead them to their main objective – solve the Braga rape slay case and help the family of the victim architect get the justice they deserve. 

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Strong rains were scarce lately in Davao City. The result is that no flash floods had inundated the city’s low-lying areas.  And the governments, local and national, are silent on the status of flood control projects being undertaken in the city. Even the public who is most affected when floods occur, somehow prefers to set aside issues on flooding when rains are not pouring.

For us these “dry” days are the more opportune time to fast tract the work on projects that are intended to prevent or mitigate the floods. These days when God’s wrath is more heaped in other places of Mindanao and some rain-prone parts of the country the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) should find ways to complete whatever projects they are undertaking to put an end to the flooding of such important thoroughfares as the J.P. Laurel National Highway and the stretch from Buhangin to the Davao Airport of the C.P. Garcia Diversion Road.

It is common knowledge that the portion of the road fronting La Verna Hills subdivision, the stretch along sitio San Nicolas in Buhangin proper, and the short portion immediately after the Regional Police headquarters going north, immediately turn into river basins every time strong rains fall in the city. When flooded these highway sections will cause heavy vehicular traffic that usually lasts to as long as one to three hours depending on the rain duration. The same situation is also prevalent at the junction of J.P. Laurel National Highway and Mamay road.

So, it is our take that if either the DPWH or the CEO has ongoing flood prevention projects in the areas mentioned the time for these agencies to hasten implementation is NOW; not when the rains come.

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It looks like some elements are out to destroy the reputation of Davao City as an almost crime-free metropolis. This they do by committing all sorts of crimes lately ranging from rape, homicide, abductions, and the latest was exploding an improvised explosive device (IED) underneath a car of a lawyer at EcoWest Drive, Ecoland Subdivision, Matina. This happened only last Thursday morning while the car was parked unattended.

While the motive of exploding the bomb under the parked vehicle was clearly an attempt to scare the lawyer to death and not to kill him outright, it was clear that the perpetrators are able to “mock” the police authorities with their slipping the explosive right at their breathing distance. 

Could it be that the explosive was manufactured in some undisclosed location in Davao City? We cannot help but ask the question because it is close to impossible to have it brought from other areas outside Davao on board vehicles undiscovered when passing the checkpoints in route leading to downtown.

With what happened many would possibly be having doubts in the capability of the police and other law enforcement units to detect entry of terrorist elements if they really are out to sow havoc in Davao City.

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