Police: Politics could be motive in shooting of 2 Bukidnon village officials

Jan. 21, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Authorities on Tuesday said they are looking at politics as the probable motive in the shooting to death of two village councilors in Bukidnon town on Monday (Jan. 20).

According to Maj. Silvestre Asiong Jr., Bukidnon provincial police spokesperson, investigators are are zeroing in on politics, even as they are following several leads in the killing of the local officials.

“We are focusing our investigation on political motive as the reason for the shooting,” Asiong said in an interview. He did not elaborate.

The police report identified the victims as Loreno Pedyaan and Mauricio Guinto, both barangay councilors of Dominorog in Talakag town.

The victims are said to be prominent personalities in Dominorog, which is about 54 kilometers away from the center of Talakag and is populated by members of the Higaonon tribe.

The report said the officials were about to enter the barangay hall to attend a session when the shooting happened.

“The victims were on their way to attend the barangay session as it was scheduled at 9:00 a.m.,” the report said.

Witnesses said a lone gunman approached Pedyaan and Guinto and shot them at point-blank range.

Pedyaan was shot on his chest and tried to run from the suspect but fell down and died on the spot.

Guinto was hit on the left side of his head, was rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead on arrival by Dr. Tiza Joy Araneta, attending physician at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital, the report added.

Staff Sgt. Ismael Balbutin, investigator at the Talakag Municipal Police Station, said in a separate interview Tuesday that there were actually three suspects riding two motorcycles who are involved in the shooting.

He said two of the suspects, onboard one of the motorcycles, acted as lookouts.

“The lookouts positioned themselves near the barangay hall entrance. They must have signaled the gunman when they saw the two officials approaching the barangay hall,” Balbutin said.

Balbutin said that prior to the incident, majority of the members of the Dominorog barangay council, which included Pedyaan and Guinto, filed five barangay resolutions against Judith Ocum, the village chairperson.

He said one of the village officials’ concerns was the barangay chair’s failure to report for duty.

As of this posting, Ocum cannot be reached for comment.

Balbutin said the Talakag police already have a list of persons of interest but they cannot release it yet to the public, pending further investigation.

He added the police will give the victims’ families and colleagues time to mourn and bury Pedyaan and Guinto before they will continue the investigation.(davaotoday.com)

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