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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 would be conducting its so-called “Oplan Katok” Operation to locate the missing Umbac tricycle used in the commission of the heinous crime. 

Many have expressed surprise at 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 do not 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 disclose 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 about the claim of Lupaz about the total number of ombac units. When he mentioned over a thousand of the model had been sold, he did not mention if the figure was for the Calinan area alone or the entire Davao City. We reside in an area close to Calinan, and we are in the barangay proper every weekend to accompany the wife in her marketing chores. We are certain that the ombacs plying the Calinan area do not reach that number.

Therefore, our take on the matter is for the police and other law enforcers to zero in on 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 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 unfamiliar with him or her?

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 allow the SITG 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. 


Heavy rains have been scarce lately in Davao City. The result is that no flash floods 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-track the work on projects intended to prevent or mitigate 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 heavy rains fall in the city. When flooded, these highway sections will cause heavy vehicular traffic that usually lasts 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.


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, and 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 for 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 could “mock” the police authorities by their slipping the explosive right at their breathing distance. 

Could the explosive be manufactured in some undisclosed location in Davao City? We cannot help but ask the question because it is nearly 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 have doubts about 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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