The summary execution of a known gun-for-hire, who was believed responsible for a series of unsolved killings here, including the recent murder of the bus manager of Southern Star, was preceded with a wild chase all the way from the corner of M. Torralba and Visarra Streets, this city, and ended in front of the Tagbilaran City Central Elementary School. The daring murder took place midnight last Holy Wednesday. The victim identified as dismissed policeman SPO2 Carlito Bunado, alias Jerry, met his bloody end in a dramatic fashion ending a criminal career that started since becoming a bodyguard of former Batuan mayor Sixto Dano in 1998.
On the surface, Bunado was a low-profile perpetrator of celebrated hits as a gun-for-hire until the lid of his criminal enterprise was blown off when he was killed by professional killers who apparently have a score to settle with him. Many high-profile killings in this city and elsewhere were reportedly credited to him, in a criminal career that spanned for two decades. In his bid to cover his track, the dismissed policeman reportedly owned a business enterprise in Talibon, engaging in the sale of construction supplies. It was reported that he also owned at least two units of vans-for hire that ply the Talibon-Tagbilaran-Talibon ruote.
Known as a hands-on assassin instead of relying on his minions, Bunado was feared even by those who know him up close and personal. The fallen ex-cop became a household brand in the underworld when he strayed into the lucrative drug market, making a name for himself as a drug lord in the league of Jaime Decasa, a low-profile drug personality until his recent arrest by NBI agents. Bunado was also associated with the activities of Sherwin Bautista, who is fighting for a bail grant after his house was raided by a combined posse of lawmen, yielding a cache of firearms and prohibited drugs whose estimated street value was in the vicinity of P1.7 million. As high value targets in the drug trade, the triumvirate reportedly partitioned the entire province of Bohol in the supply chain of the prohibited substance known as shabu. With Talibon as base of operations, Bunado was reportedly warned by Mayor Restituto Auxtero to stop his drug operations, or the chief executive would not renew his permit to operate his vans-for-hire. Apparently, the warning fell on deaf ears as it was reported that until his death, he was still very much in the drug business.
As investigators zeroed in on the Wednesday murder, one angle they are looking into on top of several others was Bunado's business inside the Central Market carnival. He was reported to have owned at least four tables of the popular red and blue pingpong balls. A kind of gambling masquerading as parlor game, Bunado reportedly raked a pile nightly arising from this business. In fact, it was suspected that he was on his way to the carnival when two motorcycles boarded by two men each gave chase to their target from the Tanduay Rhum warehouse at the corner of M. Torralba and Visarra Sts. Riding in an old model Toyota Corrola with an unidentified lady companion, the gunmen caught up with Bunado when they were in the vicinity of the City Central Elementary School. When the victim was hit by the pursuing gunmen, the car he was riding slammed into the fence of a nearby house. The lady companion escaped unhurt while the main target sustained three gunshot wounds. He died on the spot.
DISMMISED FROM SERVICE
As a policeman, Bunado was dismissed from service 16 years ago after he was implicated in the murder of a certain Ernesto Hingpit. In an interview with former Batuan mayor Necitas Dumagan yesterday, he confirmed that Hingpit was his election supporter when killed in barangay Cabacnitan, Bilar several days before the 1998 elections. Bunado at the time served as bodyguard of mayoralty candidate Sixto “Brady” Dano along with Vicente Dano Jr., brother of Sixto. Dano won the mayoralty against Roland Dampog, the candidate supported by former mayor Dumagan. In the ensuing investigation, the two Dano bodyguards were implicated in the Hingpit killing along with Decasa, who was Batuan vice-mayor at that time. Both Decasa and Dano Jr. were cleared of the crime charged while Bunado assumed the responsibility of owning up the crime. Upon conviction, the policeman served time at the National Bilibid Prisons. He was jailed for nine years until he was paroled apparently for good behavior.
Police Supt. Jovito Atanacio, city police chief, said he together with Police Senior Inspector Quirino Geolagon and SPO2 Luciano Fuentes, responded to the call of TARSIER 117 who informed the City Police Station that a man, later identified as Bunado, had bumped his Toyota car (with plate number TLS 875) into a house fence along M. Torralba Street, this city. Reports said Bunado was chased by two motorcycles while he was travelling from the road near the Gov. Gallares Memorial Hospital heading to City Central School in Poblacion III. Residents living along M. Torralba Street told the city police that they were awakened of a burst of gunfire few minutes past midnight. Some thought it was a mere fireworks sound. However, thirty minutes into midnight, news had started creeping in the neighborhood that a man was shot dead inside a car. Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) had recovered from the crime scene 10 pieces of cartridges belonging to a .9mm caliber pistol, four pieces of cartridges belonging to a .45 caliber gun, and two unspent bullets. Post mortem examination conducted by Dr. Albert Calvelo, of City Health Office, had confirmed that Bunado sustained three gunshot wounds on his head. Initial investigation into Bunado's death revealed that the assassins were wearing helmets and masked when they chased Bunado and fired at his car. At first, the police thought that he was just an ordinary businessman coming from the town of Talibon. But when authorities had finally identified the victim as Jerry Bunado (also known as Carlito), little did they know that the bloodied victim was linked to several high-profile unsolved murder cases in the province. Sources have told the Bohol Sunday Post that Bunado had involvement in illegal drugs and illegal gambling. “It is so difficult to make a guess as to who killed Bunado,” a source said, “he had too many enemies in the past.”