Mother denies ‘salvaged’ son a robber

CRIME SCENE. Grieving relatives surround the bodies of two young men shot to death in a secluded area of Barangay Balabago, Jaro, Iloilo City. The victims are suspected robbers, according to the Jaro police station. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO City – The mother of an incoming senior high school student found dead with multiple stab and gunshot wounds in Barangay Balabago, Jaro district denied he was a member of a robbery group.

“Wala sang gang ang akon bata,” insisted Rowena Eribal of Barangay Caingin, La Paz district.

Eribal’s son Tristan Zachary and uncle Jimrod Eribal were found dead on May 21, their eyes and mouths covered with packing tape, and their hands bound with tape, too.

According to Police Captain Eduardo Siacon, Jaro police chief, the Eribals were suspects in a series of robbery cases in Jaro and La Paz and that they had friends who were into robbery, too.

“Kun may mga friends man siya (Tristan Zachary) taga-diri man lang kag kilala man namon,” said Rowena.

She appealed to the police to stop painting her son as a criminal.

But citing intelligence reports, Siacon said the Eribals were members of a robbery group since 2010.

He described the group as big, with members in every district of the city – Jaro, Mandurriao, Arevalo, Molo, City Proper, La Paz, and Lapuz.

Jimrod allegedly operated in Jaro and Mandurriao while Tristan in La Paz.

As of this writing, the Jaro police had not identified suspects in the Eribal slays.

Siacon did not discount the possibility that the killings had something to do with the robbery group’s operation.

The Eribals were also linked to the death of a village watchman in Barangay Our Fatima, Jaro on May 18.

Tristan was last seen alive being forcibly taken away by two balaclava-wearing armed men from an abandoned house in Barangay Caingin where he was on a drinking binge with friends at around 2:45 a.m. on May 21.

The police learned of the abduction from one of Tristan’s friends.

The Jaro police theorized that the men’s target was Jimrod and used Tristan to find the latter.

Policemen recovered 35 spent bullet shells of a .45 and .9mm pistols from the area where the Eribals were found dead./PN


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