Quirino DENR official shot dead

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DIFFUN, Quirino—A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official in the province was shot and killed on Tuesday by two men at a DENR checkpoint in Maddela town, police and DENR officials said.

Alfredo Almueda, 59, community environment and natural resources officer of the Maddela-Nagtipunan area, was attacked in Barangay Villa Sur past 12 a.m. on Tuesday, New Year’s Day, while he and forest guards Gene Martin and Ronaldo Calonge were at a DENR checkpoint on a dirt road leading to Barangay San Pedro.

“They proceeded to the area after they got a tip through a text message that a shipment of illegally cut logs would be passing there,” said Supt. Domingo Lucas, Quirino police director.

Police said the suspects, armed with an M-16 Armalite rifle, fired at Almueda’s Isuzu pickup from about 10 meters as it was parked near the checkpoint and with the DENR official sleeping in the driver’s seat.

Almueda, former acting provincial environment and natural resources officer in Isabela, died from a bullet in the right eye. His pickup had 11 bullet holes and police recovered 22 shells.

Benjamin Tumaliuan, DENR director in Cagayan Valley, said he informed Environment Secretary Ramon Paje of the attack on Almueda’s group.

Tumaliuan praised Almueda for his dedication to his job, saying the slain official was the top performing community environment officer in Cagayan Valley from 2010 to 2012.

Lucas said the guards could not identify the suspects or their number. But he said it appeared the attack was carried out by two persons.

“[Almueda] had received death threats in the past, which prompted him to see to it that he always had companions whenever he moved around. They finally got him,” he said.

Investigators were tracking the sender of the text message, raising the possibility it was a ruse to bring Almueda to the area.

This was the second attack on a DENR official in the region in 11 months. On Feb. 7 last year, DENR forest specialist Melania Dirain was shot and killed in her office in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan.

Earlier, the environment offices of Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera, Ilocos and Central Luzon combined their manpower with the police and military to crack down on illegal logging along their common boundaries.

The joint effort was prompted by a series of attacks on foresters, including Dirain.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

    Who would be so bold to carry out such crime if not the masterminds who were government officials and politicians themselves.  Time to have political will to solve the illegal logging once and for all, Pnoy.  Start with the Angaras.

  • arao_liwanag

    Nasaan ang pulis at militar? Imposible na wala silang ALAM SA NAYARI. DAPAT MAHULI NILA ANG SALARIN. KUNG HINDI NAKAKADUDA.

  • catalansbarce

    So.. what did the two forest escorts of Almueda doing during the shooting? They are hired killers hired by
    the politician who engage in illegal logging industry and the Aquino administration must do urgently
    to stop this gruesome killing.

  • elgeepee

    Nakikisimpatya po kami sa mga namatayan. Pero hindi po sayang ang kanyang buhay. At least there is still a government worker like him who is dedicated to his work. Mabuhay po ang lahi ninyo. I am inspired by his dedication. 

  • Rovingmoron

    He could have sought police assistance before proceeding to the area. Who knows if the text message was a ploy to get him. That’s what happened. R.I.P.

  • DOUANE

    Hmm. Hindi kaya palabas lang ‘to ng mismong DENR para ipakita sa publikong wala silang kinalaman sa illegal logging? Na “hindi nila maimplement ang total log ban” dahil sa ganitong mga pangyayari? Dahil kung kalokohan lang ang paguusapan, sisiw lang ‘tong gawin para sa mga nakaupo sa DENR.

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