South Cotabato mayor offers P500,000 reward for info on aide’s attackers
KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Philippines — Mayor Bernie Palencia of Polomolok town in South Cotabato on Monday offered a P500,000 reward to anyone who could provide information that could lead to the arrest of those involved in the shooting of his executive assistant on Friday.
Palencia told reporters on Monday he believed he could be the target of the two gunmen who shot at close range his aide Rhyolite Agregado Balili, 49.
Balili was driving his car and was about to enter the town hall premises when he was shot by two men riding on a motorcycle at about 11 a.m. on Friday.
He sustained gunshot wounds in various parts of his body and was still confined in an undisclosed hospital in General Santos City as of Monday, according to Polomolok police chief Lt. Col. Joseph del Forro III.
As the investigation continued to find the assailants, Del Forro said security measures were put in place to prevent similar attacks in the future.
Message from ‘enemies’
The mayor said the shooting of Balili, a former town councilor, could be politically motivated.
“I believe I was the target,” Palencia said, adding: “My political enemies are sending a message.” He did not name names.
Palencia said he was told that two men selling roasted peanuts were seen taking a video of him during the opening program of the Women’s Month celebration early this month.
Three members of the Civil Security Unit of the Polomolok local government unit, including a former police major who served as the town’s chief civil security officer, were killed on separate occasions in January this year.
—EDWIN O. FERNANDEZ
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