With a surge in COVID cases forcing the return of General Santos City to general community quarantine from June 5 to June 30, you’d think criminals in the city would also take a break.
Instead last Friday, gunmen raced to beat the start of the city’s return to GCQ and ambushed media executive Yentez Quintoy as she was driving home in a sport utility vehicle in Barangay San Isidro. Quintoy was the executive office director and chief of staff of the Brigada Group, which operates a local television station as well as radio stations and several newspapers in Mindanao.
Two men on a motorcycle had reportedly tailed Quintoy as she drove home from her office to have lunch with her children. At past noon, the suspects opened fire at her SUV when she slowed down. She was pronounced dead in a hospital. Police are reportedly eyeing a personal grudge as a motive for the murder and zeroing in on several persons of interest.
Apart from catching the killers, the city police will have to improve its enforcement of gun laws and general maintenance of peace and order. Quintoy, according to several reports, was the third person to be murdered by gunmen on a motorcycle in the city within a span of just one week. Since the start of the year, about 20 shooting incidents involving men on motorcycles have been reported in General Santos.
Because of the ease of maneuverability, motorcycles have become the vehicles of choice for drive-by shootings and other crimes. Behind the requisite helmets that are often heavily tinted, identities are easy to conceal even in broad daylight. Guns can be hidden in jackets, which also further boost the anonymity of criminals. The small license plates are easy to replace with stolen or fake ones.
Aware of this problem, mobile police and military checkpoints across the country often focus on motorcycle riders. Clearly, however, General Santos needs to intensify its measures to keep the public safe. Showing that criminals will not be allowed to get away, and bringing Quintoy’s killers to justice will be a good start.
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