Speed up probe of Dinagat exec slay, Palace asks PNP
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday urged the police to speed up its investigation of what it described as the “senseless” murder of a Dinagat Islands official over the weekend.
In a statement, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles condemned the killing of Board Member Wenefredo Olofernes, 52, who was attacked in Surigao City on Sunday morning.
Nograles said the Philippine National Police offered a P100,000 reward to people who could provide “useful leads” that would hasten the investigation.
Task group formed
“We’re closely coordinating with the families and the local government on how to address the aftermath of this shooting,” he said.
“We’ve been assured that this is an isolated occurrence,” said Nograles, the Cabinet officer for regional development for Caraga region.
Olofernes, the top board member of Dinagat Islands, had just had his morning exercise and was heading home on his motorcycle at 9:18 a.m. on Sunday when two men on another motorcycle shot him along Kilometer 2 at Barangay Luna in Surigao City. He died from a bullet wound to the head.
Lt. Col. Christian Rafols, spokesperson for the Caraga Police Regional Office, said the offer of reward money was announced by Brig. Gen. Gilberto Cruz, regional police director, following a meeting with police officials on Monday.
The police created Task Group Olofernes, which included the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, to consolidate all information and speed up the investigation of the Dinagat official’s murder.
Security camera footage
Lt. Col. Randy Amaro, chief of the Surigao City Police Station, said investigators were reviewing footage from several security cameras in the area where Olofernes was attacked, hoping these would lead them to the identity of the killers.
Surigao City Mayor Ernesto Matugas also described the attack on Olofernes as “isolated,” but assured that he was coordinating with the police to swiftly resolve the case.
Narciso, brother of the slain board member, on Monday said the family would bring Olofernes’ body to their hometown, Basilisa, on Dinagat Islands.
On Monday, officials and employees of the provincial government of Dinagat Islands wore black to remember Olofernes. The Philippine flag at the provincial capitol was flown at half-staff as they mourn Olofernes.
Nograles, a former representative of Davao City, reassured the public that the peace and security situation in Mindanao was improving amid the Surigao attack.
He noted the surrender of 396 communist rebels from different towns in Surigao del Norte last week.
“The isolated killing of Olofernes notwithstanding, we can obviously see a vast improvement of the security situation in Mindanao,” he said. —Reports from Julie M. Aurelio and Erwin Mascariñas
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.