THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has strongly condemned the ambush on former Pangasinan governor and Rep. Amado Espino, Jr. in San Carlos City. In line with the condemnation DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año ordered the creation of a special police investigation team to go after the perpetrators.
“We vehemently denounce this villainous act as this incident undermines the resolute efforts of our law enforcers to ensure peace and order. I have already given specific instructions to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to immediately create a team to probe the incident and track down the culprits responsible for this crime,” said Año..
Based on initial police reports, Espino was on board his Toyota Land Cruiser, backed up by his companions aboard a Toyota Innova, when they were peppered with bullets by unidentified gunmen while they were passing through Barangay Magtaking in San Carlos City, Pangasinan.
Espino and his aides Agapito Cuizon, Kervin Marfori, their driver and police security escort Staff Sergeant Jayson Malsi, and retired policeman Anthony Columbino survived the ambush and are now undergoing medical treatment. Another police escort, Police Staff Sergeant Richard Esguerra, however, died in the incident.
The DILG secretary said police operatives are already scouring several areas in the province to track and arrest the gunmen. He said police investigators are also following several possible leads on the motive behind the ambush.
The police, Año added, have also recovered the getaway vehicles used by the suspects, a Ford Everest and a Hyundai Elantra, as well as several long firearms inside the vehicles.
“We will give you updates on the results of the investigation by the police. We want to get to the bottom of this as soon as we can,” Año said.
The DILG chief also expressed his condolences to the family of P/Staff Sergeant Esguerra, assuring them that the government will fast-track the release of a special financial assistance package for them as well as other types of assistance for killed-in-action, wounded-in-action police officers under the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program.