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Personal grudge, work-related issue seen in Tagum lawyer’s killing

/ 10:50 PM September 24, 2018
Car of Connie del-Rio Villamor

The bullet-riddled car of lawyer Connie del Rio-Villamor (Photo by RUEL DAGSANGAN / contribute)

Published @ 4:27 p.m., Sept. 24, 2018 | Updated @  8:25 a.m., Oct. 1, 2018

DAVAO CITY — A special investigation task group (SITG) was set to be created to investigate Monday’s fatal shooting of a female lawyer in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, police said.

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Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, spokesperson of the Southern Mindanao Police Regional Office, called on witnesses to come out and report to authorities any information on the attack on lawyer Connie del Rio-Villamor, who used to work as community relations head for the Compostela Valley-based Apex Mining Corp.

She was no longer connected with Apex at the time of her death.

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Villamor owned several businesses in Tagum and Maco towns in Compostela Valley.

“We’re looking at personal grudge or work-related [issue] as some of the possible motives into the attack, or other motives that may arise depending on the evidence gathered,” Driz said.

The 39-year old Villamor was driving her sports utility vehicle (SUV) when attacked by two motorcycle-riding assailants near the Tagum City National Comprehensive High School in Purok Gabayan 2, Visayan Village past 8 a.m.

She was pronounced dead on arrival at the Davao Regional Medical Center due to multiple gunshot wounds in the body.

Driz said investigators were still digging deeper into the case.

She did not say what cases the lawyer had handled.

Attack on lawyers, judges

At least five lawyers and judges have been killed by unidentified gunmen around the country since 2016.

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On Feb. 2, 2017, retired Surigao City Judge Victor Canoy was gunned down by motorcycle-riding gunmen.

Surigao City Prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna was also attacked on Feb. 6, 2017, but survived.

Because of the consecutive attacks, lawyers in Surigao del Norte province said they would not touch drug-related cases as protest to the accusations against their fellow lawyers.

On Feb. 15, 2017, lawyer Mia Manuelita Mascariñas-Green was brutally murdered by four gunmen in Bohol province. The murder was linked to a property dispute in Panglao.

On Aug. 5, 2017, Butuan City Judge Godofredo Abul Jr. was shot by two gunmen aboard a motorcycle outside his home in Butuan.

Kerwin’s counsel

On Feb. 19, suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa’s lawyer, John Ungab, was shot and killed by motorcycle-riding suspects in Cebu province. Ungab, also vice mayor of Ronda town in southern Cebu, was shot twice in the head as he drove his vehicle just a few meters from the Cebu City Palace of Justice.

Espinosa’s first legal counsel, Rogelio Bato Jr., was also shot dead by men riding in a pickup vehicle and motorcycle in Tacloban City, Leyte province, in August 2016.

On Aug. 24, lawyer Rafael Atotubo was shot and killed by still unidentified gunmen in front of his house in Bacolod City. —With a report from Inquirer Research /atm

Connie del Rio-Villamor

Connie del Rio-Villamor (Photo by ELLE LUNAY from Facebook)

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TAGS: Apex Mining Corp., Connie del Rio-Villamor, slain lawyer
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