Zamboanga Norte town’s ‘youth idol’ shot dead while driving jeepney
ZAMBOANGA CITY –– A municipal councilor and idol of the youth of Sindangan town in Zamboanga del Norte was shot dead early on Wednesday while driving a jeepney boarded by public school students in Barangay Piao of the town, police said.
Shock and grief about the killing of Cicero Dalangan Gurrea, 59, has since reverberated in the town, where he has just been reelected into office for his second term in the municipal council.
Many of the town’s residents, who called him “Tatay Don,” had posted messages on the wall of his Facebook page calling for justice and expressing their grief over his killing.
Brigadier General Froilan Quidilla, director of the Police Regional Office (PRO-9) in Zamboanga Peninsula, said in a report that Gurrea, a former chief of Barangay Lagag, was driving his red-silver Armak jeep loaded with 10 students heading for the Sindangan National High School at 5:50 a.m. when he was shot three times in the chest by two gunmen on a motorcycle. Both gunmen wore helmets and black jackets.
Gurrea died before reaching the Sindangan District Hospital, said Quidilla.
Gurrea, who started his political career as a barangay captain, was described in his Facebook page by his supporters as a multi-talented artist and a college instructor in humanities, who also drove his jeep to give free rides to students.
He sat in the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Board as an ex-officio member since he was the president of the provincial Association of Barangay Councils.
He ran for and won as a councilor in his hometown Sindangan in 2016 and was reelected in the midterm elections last May.
Police Major Helen Galvez, PRO-9 spokesperson, said they had yet to determine the motive of the killing, as Gurrea had “no enemies or past death threats.”
“In fact, the whole community described him as one of the kindest persons” in the town, Galvez said.
His death sparked anger and grief among his constituents.
Their emotions were poured on his Facebook wall.
Zoraida Mustaril, the information staff of the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Office, described Gurrea as a very kind-hearted soul.
“In fact, he is an idol of the youth. He used his own jeep to ferry and fetch students for free,” she said.
Maria Girlie Hope Bontigao, a guidance counselor of the Sindangan National Agricultural School, said, “Hope justice will be served. I am deeply saddened of Gurrea’s passing. He is a hero to us.”
Maria Estela Luar, a former student of Gurrea in humanities,
demanded justice for their “Tatay Don,” describing him as “one of my closest instructors” while lamenting why a good man like him was killed.
Mi Shang, also a former student of Gurrea, asked who would now ferry students to and from school for free, an act that no other politician in their town had done.
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