A ranking officer of a taxi drivers and operators’ cooperative based at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) was shot dead Wednesday morning just outside the group’s office in Parañaque City.
Police investigators are checking whether the killing of Edito Ruaya, 56, was related to his work at Naia Transport Services Cooperative (Naiatsco), where he served as board chairman for the last five years.
A witness said he saw two men waiting next to a parked motorcycle near the gate of the cooperative’s office in Barangay (village) San Dionisio around 5 a.m.
When Ruaya arrived about an hour later, one of the men followed him as he walked toward the coop’s canteen, according to Alexis Perete, 20, a gasoline station employee who is also a caretaker of the office.
In a statement to the police, Parete said he later heard gunshots and saw the bloodied Ruaya lying on the ground. Other witnesses saw the two men fleeing on the motorbike after the attack.
In a report, Senior Police Officer 1 Rudy Dimson and PO3 Joel Romantico of the Parañaque police homicide section said the victim was shot in the right temple. A bullet slug of still unknown caliber was recovered at the scene.
Naia sources said a leadership dispute had been brewing within the cooperative, mainly over the composition of its seven-member board of directors and the administration of the cooperative’s funds.
All board seats are currently occupied by representatives of the taxi operators, although the cooperative’s bylaws state that two of these should be given to drivers, the Inquirer learned.
In November last year, Representative Cresente Paez of the partylist group Coop-Natcco (National Confederation of Cooperatives) filed a House resolution calling for the investigation of the cooperative’s board and general manager for alleged violations of the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008.
“There’s a long list of violations made by (the directors). What we need to do now is to act on the complaints of its members to correct the situation and, at the same time, craft legislation that will help avoid a repeat of the violations,” Paez then said.
Paez said the taxi operators, drivers and allied workers who were members of the cooperative had sought his help in curbing alleged abuses and in implementing reforms in the group through elections.
“Since 2007, the Naiatsco has been conducting an annual general assembly, but it is allegedly more of an outing as there is no presentation of the financial standing of the cooperative and other matters relevant to its operations,” the lawmaker said.