Espino ambush: Previous owners of gunmen’s cars deny involvement
SAN CARLOS CITY–The previous owners of the two vehicles allegedly used by gunmen in the ambush on former Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr. sought to clear their names on Monday, Sept. 16.
The original owners of the Hyundai Elantra and Ford Everest told police investigating the ambush that the cars had been sold, said Brig. Gen. Joel Orduña, Ilocos provincial regional director.
Police summoned the two after their cars’ ownership had been lnked to their names through the vehicles’ conduction stickers. It wasn’t clear how the vehicles were sold with only conduction stickers, meaning their registration had not been completed in the absence of license plates.
The abandoned vehicles were found an hour after the ambush and police recovered two M14 rifles and a customized M16 rifle, a hand grenade and bullets, jackets and bonnets inside.
Anthony Columbino, driver of Espino’s backup vehicle, has been placed under police custody and will be tapped as a witness, Orduña said.
Investigators doubted Columbino’s credibility when he immediately left the crime scene and went home in Nueva Vizcaya after the ambush.
Columbino, who was unhurt in the ambush, appeared at the San Carlos police station a day after the attack and told police that he feared for his life.
Orduña said polce are investigating all possible motives behind the ambush, including politics, business rivalry and personal grudge.
Espino survived the attack and was already discharged from the hospital. His police security aide and driver were killed in the ambush. Yolanda Sotelo/TSB
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