MANILA, Philippines - A barangay councilman solved his own killing after coincidentally capturing the images of his gunman and the suspect's lookout in a photo.
Barangay councilor Reynaldo Dagsa of Barangay 35 in Caloocan City was taking a picture of his wife and daughter outside his house on January 1 when he was shot by a lone gunman.
A report by Philippine Daily Inquirer said Dagsa was able to shoot his camera right before he was shot dead. A front-page photo published by the broadsheet newspaper shows a man aiming at Dagsa. It also captures an image of another person, later identified as the shooter's lookout.
Later, during the investigation, Dagsa's family turned over the photo to the police, which led to the arrest of the suspect identified as Michael Rollon, not Gonzales as earlier reported.
Senior Superintendent Jude Santos, Caloocan City police chief, told ANC’s Dateline Philippines in an interview that the motive behind the killing could be work-related as Dagsa was very active in the police's barangay peacekeeping action teams program.
"Talagang sa mga operations ay kasama siya. Ito nga may panahon nakaraan na ang mga tao na ito ay nakasuhan dahil sa information galing kay Dagsa," Santos said, referring to Rollo and the other suspects.
The newspaper report said Rollo and the other suspects were arrested through the help of Dagsa. They were out on bail durig the killing.
Santos said Rollo's group is allegedly involved in a string of robbery and car theft cases in the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) area.
He said another suspect, who served as Rollo's lookout, identified as Frederick Sales has been arrested in an operation at the boundary of Caloocan and Quezon cities.
Santos said that it was just fortunate that seconds before he was killed, Dagsa was able to take a picture of his killers.
He said that if not for the picture, police would not be able to immediately trace and arrest the suspects.
"A dead man tells no tales, pero ito siya mismo ang nakakuha ng mga pictures ng mga killers niya," he said.
Santos said Rollo and Sales have admitted to the crime and are spilling information that may lead to the arrest of a 3rd suspect identified as Arnel Buenaflor.
He said Buenaflor may be arrested by tracker teams "in due time."