Killing of Calbayog mayor shootout or ambush? PNP says it’s for validation
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it was still validating whether Calbayog City mayor Ronald Aquino was killed in a shootout or an ambush.
PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas earlier ruled out that the mayor was killed in an ambush. But apparently, it’s not yet final.
Initial reports stated that Aquino’s camp allegedly fired first at an unmarked vehicle carrying the policemen. The alleged shootout led to the mayor’s death.
“Based on the information gathered from some witnesses, we still have to validate this, after all. And that’s the reason why the Special Investigation Task Group was created,” PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in an interview with ABS CBN News Channel.
“Chief PNP did not want to speculate some more because there are other persons saying it has something to do with shootout, politics and all, even drugs. So these are all being validated by the SITG,” he said.
Usana said they were also looking into reports that the policemen involved in the incident were wearing bonnets at the time of the shooting.
“There was no categorical information that they were wearing bonnets… This is a subject of investigation as well,” he said.
Aquino was not a target of police operations. The PNP was also not aware of reports that he was involved in the drug trade, Usana said.
The exchange of fire killed the mayor and at least five other people, including a civilian, caught in the crossfire. Killed in the group of Aquino aside from the mayor were a police escort and driver. At least two policemen were killed in the group that clashed with Aquino and his bodyguards
The PNP welcomed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s order to the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an inquiry into the killing of the mayor.
“We welcome the SOJ announcement that the NBI will also investigate. They could also complement the investigation of the case,” Usana said.
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