Local political party offers P300K reward to resolve murder of Cebu village exec
CEBU CITY—A local opposition party here is offering a P300,000 reward money for information that can lead to the arrest of four persons who shot and killed a party member while driving home in Liloan town, about 21 km north of here.
The Barug Team Rama was hopeful that the bounty would expedite the resolution of the murder of Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta, village chief of Ermita, one of the barangays in Cebu City that were plagued by problem of illegal drugs.
“We in Barug Team Rama decided to raise the amount as a collective effort to help solve the crime. This is not actually necessary because we trust in the capability of our police and the National Bureau of Investigation. However, we just want to help expedite the investigation,” said Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella in an interview.
He said any information shall be verified and evaluated to avoid misinformation and to get the right targets.
Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), has formed a special investigation task group to explore all possible angles in the slay of Rupinta, a member of Team Rama.
Supt. Jonathan Cabal, head of the Regional Intelligence Division, said the assailants, who wore full-faced helmets, were still unidentified.
He said they were trying to secure footages of the closed-circuit televisions in the roads where Rupinta passed along before he was ambushed.
“We are looking into all angles including illegal drugs, gambling, and politics. We believe that the killing was done by professional hired killers based on the manner it was carried out,” Cabal said. Rupinta, 63, was driving his Isuzu D-Max pickup with his live-in partner Jocelyn Mendoza when four men on board two motorcycles fired at him around 8:20 p.m. in Sitio Simborio, Barangay Tayud, Liloan town.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said Rupinta was hit in the head, neck, and his left arm. He was rushed to Mendero Medical Center in Consolacion town but died at 9:33 p.m. Mendoza was left unharmed.
Based on the investigation, Rupinta was heading home in a subdivision in Liloan from barangay hall in Ermita when the ambush happened.
Ermita Councilor Mark Miral said they were shocked upon learning about Rupinta’s death.
“This is so far the hardest thing that happened to us. I hope the police will act on this and do everything to give justice to Captain Rupinta’s family,” he said in an interview.
Miral, the number one councilor in Ermita, will take over as village chief.
“We haven’t though yet of the things that we need to do. For now, we’re just shocked,” he said.
Last October, Rupinta led the posting of tarpaulins in homes which he identified as drug-free in Ermita. The Commission on Human Rights investigated his anti-drug program, prompting him to stop it.
Early this year, Rupinta and all seven councilors of Barangay Ermita were suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman starting last February for failure to cooperate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during a drug raid in November 2016. /jpv
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