Councilor killed by teenage rebels in Eastern SamarBy Joey A. Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—A municipal councilor was gunned down Friday morning by two teenagers believed to be communist rebels outside a convenience store in Dolores, Eastern Samar, police said.
Councilor Bonifacio Tan Jr. of Dolores came from his brother’s house in Barangay 3 and had dropped by a store to buy something about 7:30 a.m. when the assailants approached him from behind and opened fire, hitting him twice in the head and other parts of the body, said Insp. Jerome Camacho, Dolores police chief.
After shooting the victim, the gunmen casually hailed a passing motorcycle, boarded the vehicle and escaped, Camacho added in a telephone interview.
Tan was taken to the Domingo Casano Private Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Camacho said the gunmen were described to be between 16 and 18 years old. He said the assailants were suspected to be members of the New People’s Army because when the police pursued them up to Sitio Binog, Barangay 14, they were met by a group of armed men who engaged the policemen in a gunbattle.
“They engaged us in a fire fight. One of the men… even lobbed a grenade towards our direction but none of my men was hit or hurt,” he added.
After five minutes, the rebels in different directions, said Camacho.
The town of Dolores, which is composed of 46 barangays with a population of more than 40,000, has long been identified by the military as a hot-bed of insurgency in Eastern Samar.
Camacho said they could not yet establish the motive of the rebels in killing the councilor, whose family owns several business establishments in Dolores, about 170 km northeast of Tacloban.
Tan was a first-term councilor. His wife, Leny, is the chairperson of Barangay 13 where the Tans and their four children live.