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Cebu’s fallen drug lord shows clout even in death

CEBU CITY – Even in death, Cebu’s suspected top drug lord showed his power.

During his funeral attended by 2,500 supporters, a church was off-limits to outsiders, and policemen were barred from entering a public cemetery where his body was laid to rest.

Jeffrey Diaz, notoriously known as drug lord “Jaguar”, was killed in what police described as a shootout in Las Piñas City on June 17. And just as authorities thought everything was over for Jaguar, his wake and funeral proved otherwise.

Diaz’s wake was held inside his highly-fenced house in the poor neighborhood of Barangay Duljo-Fatima in Cebu City.

Only family members and close friends were allowed to get inside. Even police investigators were barred.

During his funeral last Monday, Jaguar’s “supporters” came over to pay their last respect, most of them were wearing black shirts with the face of Jaguar printed on the front and the words “Jeffrey ‘Jaguar’ Diaz We Will Miss You” on the back.

There was no hearse. A group of eight men carried Jaguar’s coffin from his house to the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino. The church was off-limits to outsiders, including policemen and reporters, during the requiem Mass.

From the church, Jaguar’s coffin was also carried towards the Calamba Cemetery, where policemen and the media were also not allowed to enter. The funeral march caused traffic gridlock. Photos and videos of the funeral made their rounds on social media.

The police claimed those who joined the funeral were paid between P500 and P1,000 each but Jaguar’s family refused the claim.

“He was a helpful and kind man,” one supporter said.

Before his death, Jaguar was the go-to man for neighbors who needed money for hospital bills or for food. When the nearby sitio was hit by huge fire, victims lined up inside Jaguar’s house to receive R10,000 cash assistance from the suspected drug lord.

Barely a week before he was killed in a shootout in Las Piñas, Jaguar said in an interview that he wanted to surrender and give up his illegal drugs trade. The police did not believe him, saying he already made the same pronouncement last year but still went on with his trade.

Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director Chief Supt. Patrocino Comendador expects someone to succeed the fallen drug lord but the police force, he said, is hell bent on going after Jaguar’s successor.

“We will also get him,” Comendador told reporters. (MARS W. MOSQUEDA JR.)