By Jennifer P. Rendon
Local pirates are being blamed for the killing of a security guard late afternoon of September 10 in the seawaters of Carles, Iloilo.
Without any provocation or resistance, Wilson Gait, chief security personnel of NBMD Security Agency, was repeatedly shot until he fell from the motorbanca.
The suspects also sailed away with the security agency’s cash of P320,000.
Police reports said that Gait was with four other personnel of NBMD Security Agency when the incident happened.
But the gunmen didn’t attempt to shoot Joenard Barcenilla, 54, the agency’s driver; security guards Amir Alikan and Hamin Cunda; and boatman Bobby Ajusan.
Police accounts said the group left the Estancia town wharf around 4 p.m. on Saturday on their way to Sicogon Island.
They were carrying P320,000 for the salary of the security personnel deployed at the Ayala Corp-owned property in Sicogon Island.
As they were about to sail, a man who identified himself as Jerry dela Cruz told the group if he could go with them.
“Nakiusap ang nagpakilalang si Jerry dela Cruz kung pupwedeng sumama kasi may gusto daw siyang kausapin na taga-Barangay Buaya, which is also in Sicogon Island,” Major Nestor Bacuyag, Cales police chief, said.
Since he was alone, the five security personnel acceded.
The trip went smoothly until they reached the area of Barangay Bitoon in Carles, which is several minutes away from the Sicogon island, around 5 p.m.
Another motorbanca allegedly sailed after them.
One of the three men on board allegedly fired a gun in the air twice.
The victims, who were all unarmed, were compelled to slow down.
One of the suspects then asked who among them goes by the name ‘Muslim’.
When no one answered, the suspects shot Gait four times.
This prompted Gait’s companions to jump into the water.
The suspects then took the cash and the victims’ personal belongings.
The victims claimed to have seen dela Cruz boarding the suspect’s motorbanca.
When the suspects left, the four victims hurriedly boarded their sea vessel and proceeded to Bitoon village.
Bacuyag said the village officials of Bitoon reported the incident at 6:20 p.m.
“We immediately conducted a hot pursuit operation but the suspects were already nowhere in sight,” he said.
There were no clear descriptions of the assailants but the victims claimed that the motorbanca they used was color white and has yellow trimmings.
Meanwhile, Gait’s body was found around 6 a.m. on September 11 at Barangay Talingting, which is around 2 nautical miles from where the incident happened.
He sustained gunshot wounds on his forehead and upper portion of his right breast.
As of press time, Bacuyag said they still don’t have any person of interest behind the incident.
Investigators cannot conclude if the suspects were the same persons who also robbed a passenger motorbanca almost a year ago.
On Sept. 23, 2021, two unidentified suspects took away an estimated P200,000 cash.
The money was the collection by cigarette retail agents Milton Sevilla, 54, of Barangay Palanguia, Pototan, Iloilo and Gemar Prospero, 34, of Barangay Naslo, Pototan.
The two were employed to trade cigarettes in the coastal villages of Carles.
The incident happened late afternoon in the seawaters of Barangay Buenavista, Carles.
There were four passengers who were headed to Estancia when the incident happened.
A blue motorbanca came from behind and chased them.
The two suspects allegedly warned them to slow down.
One of the suspects then poked a gun of unknown caliber against the victims and immediately took their cash and belongings.
It was deemed as the first incident of piracy that police personnel in the area have known in years.