P03 Lydo Pinos, homicide investigator of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, said they want to verify if agent Jeffry Jude Yap’s death was accidental or a suicide.
He said they still have to establish whether he was shot by someone else.
Yap, a native of Digos City, Davao del Sur, was assigned at the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons at the MCIA three weeks ago.
Pinos said Yap drank with maintenance worker Richard Manto hours before the shooting.
Pinos said text messages sent by Yap to Manto indicated that the agent invited Manto to a drinking session at the car park of the airport’s staffhouse.
“Sir unsay problema (Sir what’s the problem),” Manto asked Yap.
“Ari diri Chard (Richard) naa koy problema (Come here, Richard I have a problem),” read Yap’s text message sent to Manto.
Manto told police that Yap gave him P500 to buy roasted chicken and brandy.
Manto said he bought the food and they drank, with Yap recounting his days as a sugar plantation worker and other jobs he used to have before becoming an NBI agent.
When they ran out of brandy, Yap asked Manto to buy more liquor and bread at a store near the staff house.
While Manto was away, Pinos said Yap approached security guard Romeo Malubay and asked if he could fire his gun.
When the guard refused, Yap went back to the staff house and a shot rang out a few minutes later.
Malubay said he went to where the gunshot rang out and found Yap lying on the ground with a gunshot wound in his left temple.
The Glock .40 pistol was found 30 feet away from Yap along with one empty shell and one fragmented slug, Malubay said. The guard claimed that he only heard one gunshot.
Malubay said he called the police and hospital immediately and Yap was rushed to the Mactan Doctors Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Pinos said there was no suicide note recovered in the area.
Based on initial findings at the hospital, the bullet hit his left temple and then exited to the right temple.
Pinos said they’re trying to talk to Yap’s wife who had just arrived yesterday. Yap’s wife works as a nurse in Davao. They have a three-year-old child.
Pinos said they will also ask permission from her to allow the autopsy on Yap’s remains, including paraffin tests.
He said Manto and Malubay both underwent paraffin tests to determine the presence of gunpowder in their hands.
In the few weeks since he started as a contractual worker in the MCIA, Manto couldn’t recall seeing Yap as looking problematic.
“In the three weeks he was assigned at the airport, I didn’t see him being uneasy. He was kind,” he said. Yap’s death took his colleagues by surprise.
NBI-7 Regional Director Edward Villarta said while he doesn’t know Yap personally he sees the agent’s death as accidental.
He said Yap paid a courtesy visit to him when he arrived in Cebu. Cebu City Asst. Prosecutor Liceria Lofranco-Rabillas was Yap’s direct supervisor at MCIA.
Rabillas, chief operations officer of the Task Force for Anti-Trafficking at MCIA, said he was surprised upon learning about Yap’s death.
“I’m sad. We can’t believe it. He’s been with us for just a month. We just started work together,” she said. /Jhunnex Napallacan and Ador Vincent Mayol with Correspondent Norman V. Mendoza