MANILA - A gang war over the control of the illegal drug trade in Barangay 118 in Caloocan City was apparently one of the causes of the shooting rampage on New Year’s Eve that left two dead and 10 others wounded, a public prosecutor said yesterday.
Lucas Badilla, who lost his bid for the post of chairman of Barangay 118, earlier admitted that his two sons – Jessie, 30; and his younger brother, Noriel – were the two men seen on a surveillance video shooting at people watching a street dancing competition on Dec. 31, 2013.
Caloocan fiscal Darwin Cañete said Jessie’s arrest on Feb. 11, 2011 for illegal possession of drugs and deadly weapons was the key reason for the gang war that resulted in several murders prior to the New Year’s Eve shooting.
Police officers arrested Jessie after receiving a tip from an informant that he was reportedly roaming the streets armed and carrying shabu. Jessie had gone through inquest proceedings under Cañete’s supervision.
The informant turned out to be Rowena Andres, who was killed exactly a week after Jessie’s arrest, reportedly by Noriel. Jessie’s younger brother was charged with murder along with five others, two of them minors, Cañete said.
A source told The STAR that the Badilla brothers and their cousin, Pupung, reportedly also killed three others in fighting for control of the drug trade, the “root of all evil” in Barangay 118.
“We saw the Badilla brothers growing up from ordinary petty criminals to big time drug pushers. Their guns and drugs were reportedly being supplied by a ‘godfather’ who handles them,” the source said.
The Badillas suffered a major blow when Pupung was killed on April 8, allegedly by members of a rival gang that includes “Hapon,” Allan Abuyog and the son of one of the victims of the New Year’s Eve shooting, Jovito Alnas, the source said. The three have allegedly gone into hiding.
Caloocan investigation division chief Superintendent Ferdie del Rosario said they have dug up a Dec. 17, 2012 warrant for Noriel’s arrest for the murder of Andres.
Canete cannot say whether the brothers were charged for the New Year’s Eve shooting.
Mayor Oscar Malapitan announced that there will be a P50,000 reward for the immediate capture of the brothers.
“We are thinking of putting up an initial P50,000 reward for any information that could lead to the capture of the Badilla brothers. This is just the beginning. If the next day they will not surface then the reward could go higher and they could be in a lot of trouble,” he told The STAR.