Police probing alleged drug links as motive for killing of Los Baños mayor

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2020   •   239

MANILA, Philippines – Investigators from the Laguna Provincial Police on Friday said it is looking into the alleged links to narcotics trade as among the possible motives in the killing of Los Baños, Laguna Mayor Caesar Perez.

Perez, 66, was shot dead inside the municipal hall by still unidentified gunmen on Thursday night.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Chitadel Gaoiran, the spokesperson of the Laguna Provincial Police, said they have yet to identify the motive for the killing.

Perez was among the list of local politicians with alleged ties to the narcotics trade revealed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019.

He denied any involvement in the illegal drug trade, and called the release of the list as “politically-motivated.”

Police said Perez sustained two gunshot wounds at the back of his head.

The gunmen then fled the scene.

“Base sa CCTV na nakita natin, after magpamasahe ni Mayor, naglakad siya dun sa may open area and then may narinig na dalawang putok and then yun nakita nila si Mayor na nakahandusay na sa pinangyarihan,” Gaoiran said.

There were no witnesses who can clearly say how many assailants were involved in the incident.  

Perez was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead around 9:25 p.m.

Police said a special investigation task force has been organized to coordinate all probe efforts for the immediate solution of the case.

Police investigators are also reviewing all surveillance video footages recorded by security cameras around the municipal hall and nearby establishments.

Perez’s movements prior to the shooting incident were also being established to gather more information that may help in the invesitgation. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mac Cordova)

Manila court judge shot dead inside office

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A judge of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) was shot dead inside her office on Wednesday afternoon, local authorities said.

The victim was identified as Ma. Theresa Abadilla, 44, judge of Manila RTC Branch 45.

Abadilla was shot in her chamber on the fifth floor of the Manila City Hall around 2:45 p.m. and was immediately rushed to a hospital after the incident, according to a report by the city’s security force.

She was declared dead around 3:15 p.m., authorities said.

In a report to Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, authorities identified the judge’s 42-year-old clerk of court, Atty. Amador Rebato Jr., as the suspect.

The alleged gunman also died after shooting himself inside the office, the report stated.

Initial investigation showed that prior to the shooting, Abadilla was talking to Rebato about his work performance which seemed “unfavorable”.

According to the report, Juanito Reyes, the court’s legal researcher, told the authorities that Rebato recently got infected with COVID-19 which affected his performance and was planning to resign.

The city security force said the investigation into the incident has been turned over to the Homicide Division for proper disposition.

9 cops, 3 officials face administrative charges over Sulu shooting incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 7, 2020

Nine police officers are facing administrative charges for their involvement in the shooting of four soldiers in Jolo, Sulu on June 29.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief PGen. Camilo Cascolan confirmed on Monday (September 7) that the PNP-Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) has filed administrative charges against the nine cops and their three immediate superiors.

“Summons were served last week to the nine respondents who are presently under restrictive custody by the headquarters support service in Camp Crame,” he said.

Aside from the administrative charges, the nine cops will also face criminal charges for murder and planting of evidence filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Cascolan also said the three immediate superiors will face administrative charges “for gross neglect of duty under the doctrine of command responsibility.”

The Philippine Army previously reported that the four soldiers are members of their intelligence unit who are on the hunt for two suicide bombers. They also said the two suicide bombers are those responsible for the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu on August 24 which killed 15 and injured 74. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

AFP to assess tactics, procedures after Jolo incident

Robie de Guzman   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said it will review its existing protocols to see if these are in need of improvements following the unfortunate incident involving a group of policemen and soldiers in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said the AFP chief of staff General Felimon Santos Jr. and Philippine National Police chief Police General Archie Gamboa have agreed to revisit each Technique, Tactics, and Procedure (TTPs) to “determine if these are current and are followed religiously to prevent the incident from happening again.”

On Monday, June 29, four soldiers were killed after they were accosted by local police officers.

The Philippine Army earlier said the four men, who were wearing civilian clothes, were on an official mission when they were spotted by police officers on patrol.

When questioned by cops, the four men allegedly introduced themselves as members of the AFP. They were then asked to proceed to the Jolo Municipal Police Station for verification.

However, initial police report said the soldiers attempted to escape prompting police to give chase. When the men got off their vehicle, they allegedly pointed their firearms at the police, which prompted the cops to fire at them, resulting in their death.

But Philippine Army Commanding General Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay criticized the spot report of the police, calling it “fabricated,” and “full of inconsistencies.” He also tagged the incident as a “rubout” and “murder” after noting that the soldiers did not try to escape and never fired a single shot towards police officers.

According to Arevalo, Gapay’s comments on the incident were based from “a learned evaluation of information” that were presented to him.

“His point of view is supported by spot reports and eye-witness accounts of two civilians and of a motorcycle-riding soldier who was part of the operation trailing the SUV boarded by the four intelligence personnel,” he said.

While there is an initial result of the autopsy, Arevalo said the AFP will not reveal it yet to avoid preempting its announcement.

The slain soldiers were given military arrival honors when their remains were brought at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Tuesday afternoon.

“We share the grief of LTGen Gapay and his call for an impartial and thorough investigation and his quest for justice as he minced no words in calling for accountability and liability for those involved in the incident,” he added.

Arevalo also shared that as a way forward and apart from the yearning for justice, AFP chief Santos has tasked members of the staff and subordinate commanders to ensure that these soldiers who died in line of duty will be given the assistance, benefits, and entitlements due them.

The military also hopes for a swift yet thorough investigation of the incident, with the express cooperation of the PNP and the AFP.

“While we are in search for truth and justice, we are also mindful not to allow the enemies of the state to take advantage of the incident to create a divide between the AFP and the PNP,” Arevalo said.


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