POLICE Regional Office 7 (PRO7) director, Brigadier General Ronnie S. Montejo yesterday said they are leaving no stones unturned in their investigation into the separate killings of a lady physician and her husband and a female lawyer in the region this month.
In a Zoom conference with Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas, the official referred to the case of Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and her husband Edwin and Attorney Maria Baby Ole.
The Sancelan couple was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding assassins in Carmenville Subdivision in Barangay Poblacion in Guilhungan City in Negros Oriental past 5 p.m. last December 15.
The 61-year-old lady doctor is the city health officer of Guilhungan City and head of the Guilhungan City Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease when killed.
According to Montejo, the physician was also identified by SITG Sancelan investigators as an active member of the La Libertad, Negros Oriental-based Secular Franciscan Order who is known for its inclination with the Left.
The PRO7 director said there was also an information from the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office director, Colonel Bryant Demot that the doctor was reported to have treated wounded New People’s Army rebels in the past.
On the other hand, Montejo described the 52-year old Edwin Sancelan as a casual employee of the Guilhungan Satellite Skills Development Center who was reported to be a former NPA red fighter under the NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command operating in Central Negros.
An initial investigation showed the motorcycle-riding Edwin picked up his wife in front of the city health office prior to the shooting. The couple was attacked by the assassins about 100 meters away from the national highway.
Local policemen who rushed to the site after receiving a call from a concerned citizen found the bloodied victims and took them to the Governor William Villegas Memorial Hospital where they were both pronounced dead upon arrival by an attending physician.
Investigators recovered 14 spent caliber .45 casings, one .45 slug and one slug from an unknown caliber at the scene of the crime.
Montejo said the SITG Sancelan has been reviewing CCTV footages in the area and are conducting follow-up investigation and interviewing local residents and neighbors and co-workers of the victims who might have any information on the killers.
The recovered spent cartridges are also being cross-matched with similar pieces of evidence previously recovered in gun attacks in the province, he said.
Montejo said they are looking into several motives behind the killing including the possibility it could be work-related or have something to do with the NPA.
He said that investigators have found out that last June 9, the lady doctor went to the local police to have a purported death threat from a colleague recorded in the blotter.
She accused the male doctor of uttering threatening words against her and even claiming he can order her killing.
On November 12, 2017, the physician also made an affidavit that she was informed by a local nurse that a list was thrown on the street by a group called ‘Kagubak’ who accused her of having links with the NPA.
The victim denied the accusations and said it was baseless.
On the other hand, Montejo said that are conducting the same thorough investigation on the case of the 40-year old Atty. Ole who was shot to death by one of two motorbike-riding gunmen in Bgy. Look in Danao City in Cebu last December 17.
The victim had just attended a court duty when killed while driving her pickup.
Montejo said they have several ‘persons of interest’ in the killing already including the driver and occupants of a Hyundai Starex and a motorcycle recorded by a CCTV camera near the scene of the murder.
The plate number and conduction sticker of the Starex turned out to be non-existing when checked with the Land Transportation Office while the motorcycle plate was found to have been issued in Metro Manila.
Montejo said that Atty. Ole’s husband was also shot dead last May 26.
He said that an investigation showed that the man served sentence at the National Bilibid Prisons for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Before she was killed, the victim revealed that another NBP inmate who became an acquaintance of her husband wanted her free legal service on his annulment case. The woman said that the inmate even threatened her she will likely experience the same fate of another slain lawyer if she won’t heed his request.
Montejo said the killers used a cal. .45 pistol in shooting the lawyer. He said they are investigating if the case is work-related or has something to do with her husband’s death too.