SOLVING cases of murdered local chief executives or LCEs is a primordial concern of the Philippine National Police as part of their effort to give justice to all, whether they are involved in illegal drug activities or not, PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde told the Journal Group.
“A murder is a murder and we won’t stop unless justice is served to the victims and their families,” the country’s top cop said even as police investigations on some of the incidents have clearly showed that they were triggered by heated political rivalries associated with the forthcoming 2019 mid-term elections.
On Thursday last week, the Police Regional Office 4-A filed criminal charges for two counts of murder and frustrated murder against the mayor of Trece Martires City in Cavite and nine other suspects in the assassination of Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan and his driver last July 7.
“The classic textbook example of complete case build-up meticulously labored by PRO4A led to the identification of at least 10 suspects including Mayor Melandres de Sagun, who each performed acts of participation in this intricate murder plot,” said Gen. Albayalde.
The PNP chief credited the PRO4-A headed by Chief Superintendent Edward E. Carranza and the Cavite Police Provincial Office under Senior Supt. William Segun for solving the case of Vice Mayor Lubigan and his driver Romulo Gillemer who were gunned down on Trece Martires-Indang Road in Barangay Luciano.
The PNP chief said these incidents have prompted him to create a National Investigation Task Group which will monitor the progress of the ongoing investigation into the incidents.
“There is no reason to say it is alarming because it is not a cause for alarm but we should be concerned. Whether they are included in the narco-list or not, their deaths should be investigated,” he said.
According to the PNP chief, the NITG will oversee the probe into the recent killings of mayors, some of them linked to illegal drug trafficking activities.
Gen. Albayalde designated Director Elmo Francis O. Sarona of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to constitute and head the National Investigation Task Group that will closely monitor and facilitate national level coordination of all investigative efforts by the different PNP Units, Offices and SITGs involved in the investigation of incidents of involving LCEs.
Gen. Albayalde said the priority concern are the recent deaths of Ronda, Cebu Mayor Mariano Blanco and Vice Mayor John Ungab, Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili, General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote and Vice Mayor Lubigan.
“The SITG investigating the murder of Mayor Blanco is closely looking into politics as possible motive for the murder. Although other possibilities are also being carefully looked into as suggested by strong leads and significant findings,” the PNP chief said.
Politics is being eyed as the main motive behind the killing of Lubigan who reportedly was already preparing to run as mayor of Trece Martires City in the forthcoming 2019 mid-term election before he was killed.