CEBU CITY -- His freedom was short-lived.
Less than a month following his release from jail, alleged notorious robber Michael Reyes, 29, was gunned down by a motorcycle-riding tandem at corner Gen. Echavez and Lorega Sts., Cebu City Monday afternoon.
Reyes just flagged down a taxi cab, along with a companion, when two men on board a red motorcycle peppered the victim with bullets.
Police believe Reyes was the only target of the ambush after the assailants left his friend Ray Vincent Aquino, 31, go unharmed.
Reyes, who was wanted for a string of thefts in hotels and pension houses and roadside robberies, was arrested last January 3 inside a restobar after a police officer spotted him.
In Monday’s incident, Reyes took the front seat of the taxicab while Aquino occupied at the back.
The taxicab only moved a little when the motorcycle backrider opened fire at 12:45 p.m. The assailants were positioned ahead of the vehicle.
Aquino had to drag Reyes at the backseat because the front passenger door was locked.
Taxi driver Jose Heredia, 43, removed his key and left the vehicle, which automatically locked the door on the passenger side.
Aquino was able to run to the interior of Barangay Lorega-San Miguel.
The gunman approached Reyes and shot him several times. The victim bore seven gunshot wounds in his head, chest, stomach and back.
A pack of junk food he was munching before the incident was still clutched in his hands, while a bottle of green tea lay on the pavement.
Six empty shells of a .45 pistol were recovered from the crime scene.
Reyes reportedly asked Aquino to accompany him to visit a friend. It was not clear where they were going.
Senior Superintendent Melvin Ramon Buenafe, head of the Cebu City Police Office, said they are looking into the possibility that the shooting was connected to illegal drugs.
Reyes was seen frequently visiting Barangay Lorrega-San Miguel, which the city police director described as one of the drug-infested areas.
Men on board motorcycles were reportedly observing the victim a week ago.
“It could be possible that someone was also getting their revenge against him for his previous case,” Buenafe added.
A witness, roadside vendor Arlene Doble, 36, said the gunman was clad in a red shirt while the driver wore a dirty white shirt.
“Mga itomon sila unya sakto Og panglawas (They were dark-skinned and of medium build),” Doble said, adding she had to scamper along with her three young children for safety during the shooting.
Doble was across the road when the ambush occurred.
Taxi driver Heredia said the victim was supposed to be his last customer for the day.
“Day-off ‘ta nako. Mo-grahe na unta ‘ko (It was my dayoff. I was supposed to return to the garage),” he revealed.
Homicide investigator Ruth Violango told Sun.Star Cebu the family of Reyes has contacted them regarding the autopsy on the victim.
Reyes, who reportedly belonged to a well-off family, was released from jail last January 18 after posting a surety bond of P40,000 for criminal charges of unlawful possession of firearms and drugs. He allegedly had similar pending complaints in the United States. (Sun.Star Cebu)