Armed men burn modern passenger minibus in Quezon
LUCENA CITY — Four armed men burned down a modern passenger vehicle on Wednesday night, Jan. 31, in Catanauan town in Quezon province, police said on Thursday, Feb. 1.
The Quezon police said the suspects pretended to be passengers and boarded the minibus driven by Carl Bayer Villanueva that was traveling along Barangay Dahican around 7:30 p.m.
The report said the suspects pulled out their handguns and told the driver, conductor and three passengers: “This is not a hold-up. Just step out and turn your backs.”
After the passengers disembarked, the suspects set the vehicle on fire using a gas lamp then escaped, police said.
Colonel Ledon Monte, Quezon police chief, said the incident was an offshoot of a rivalry between groups of legal and illegal passenger vehicle drivers and operators.
“It’s a quarrel between jeepney cooperatives and colorum jeepneys,” Monte told the Inquirer in an interview Thursday.
The minibus is operated by Gumaca Transport Service Cooperative (GTSC) based in Gumaca town.
The police are conducting further investigations to identify the suspects and establish the motive behind the incident.
According to Noel Capisonda, GSTC president, their group has long been receiving threats that their vehicle would be burned every time they come out with a new modern passenger vehicle.
In an interview with the media on Thursday, Capisonda disclosed that their detractors also attempted to masquerade as the New People’s Army (NPA) by sending threatening letters with the cropped-out logo of the communist rebels to their leasers and members.
However, he emphasized that they did not believe that the NPA were involved.