Davao Norte power coop official shot dead in Tagum
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte, Philippines – An official of one of the contending factions of a Davao del Norte power utility was shot dead outside his house in this city on Tuesday night, authorities on Wednesday said.
Senior Supt. Samuel Gadingan, Davao del Norte police chief, identified the victim as Gregorio Ybanez, 67, married and a resident of Purok Santan, Barangay Magugpo North.
The victim, who was also the president of the Davao del Norte Press-Radio-TV Club, one of the several media groups here, had just arrived from work and about to enter his house when two armed men attacked him around 10:25 p.m., Gadingan said.
Ybanez had served as president of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) under the control of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) after the power utility serving more than 120,000 consumers in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley provinces broke apart in May 2012, with Ybanez’s group sticking with NEA and the rival faction aligning itself under the Cooperative Development Authority.
“It came as a shock to all of us. It was so sudden,” said Dionisia Abaquita, institutional services division (ISD) head of Daneco-NEA.
Ybanez was replaced as president but remained in the board of directors, said Abaquita.
He was a publisher of a weekly in Tagum, but had become inactive for the last five years.
Abaquita said the victim had been receiving threats from unknown persons but ignored them.
“We feel the loss as he’s been known as a fighter who stood up for Daneco-NEA,” Abaquita told Philippine Daily Inquirer by mobile phone.
Mayor Allan Rellon has ordered the city police to conduct a thorough investigation.
“This case is a priority,” Rellon said by text message.
Due to threats, Abaquita said Ybanez had been assigned with a bodyguard, but due to unknown reasons, he was alone when he was attacked.
“He came from a meeting and was about to alight from his motorcycle when shot,” Abaquita said, quoting the victim’s relatives.
Gadingan said they “are looking into the victim’s work” as one of the angles in their investigation.
He said the suspects might have waited for the victim outside his house and when they saw he was alone, they killed him.
Abaquita called on authorities to investigate the murder. “We in Daneco-NEA as well as his family are calling for justice,” she said.
She said they could not say if the present dispute between the Daneco factions had anything to do with Ybanez’s murder.
“We’ll just wait for the police to investigate,” she said. Friston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao
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