LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Apr. 22) — The third gruesome murder in the capital town of Bangued in Abra Monday afternoon is sending shivers to Abreños though authorities calmly think the cold-blooded slayings were not related at all.
Monday afternoon’s killing of alleged drug queen Vangie Valera is being suspected by the Cordillera police “as a case of infighting or rivalry between drug syndicates,” said Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Eugene Martin.
They are not related at all, added Abra police director Sr. Supt. Alexander Pumecha.
Valera, an alleged drug queen distributing shabu in the province and as far as Ilocos and La Union province, was gunned down in front of the Lans grocery shop 8:00 P.M. Monday night, at least 27 hours after a security guard was gunned down inside the Bangued town hall Sunday night and some 35 hours before a 75 year old lawyer was also gunned down inside his law office cum house.
Sr. Supt. Pumecha said that Valera, a well-known drug pusher/ dealer and is listed in the “Order of Battle” of the police’s anti-drugs operations, was shot several times by still unidentified gunmen inside the tricycle she hired.
The gunmen who are now being hunted fled aboard a motorcycle.
Monday night’s killing, Martin reiterated, “it should not be misconstrued as anything like a resurgence of violence in Abra,” which he claimed has become more peaceful than before when it was regarded as “Cordillera’s Killing Fields”.
Guns-for-hire linked to politicians have been neutralized, the Cordillera police director said. He explained that the motive behind Atty. Demetrio Pre’s killing Sunday afternoon is very deep. “We are looking at several angles including his dealings (with clients),” Martin said.
The slaying of the septuagenarian lawyer and a security guard just several hours in between on Sunday “right inside their own turfs” could break the still precarious “peace” established in the province.
At 11:00 P.M. also on Sunday, 32-year old security guard Efren Bersalona was slain inside the town hall in Bangued.
The Bangued town hall is also just a few meters away from the provincial capitol building where Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met with National Security Council officials and Cordillera leaders last week regarding the peace situation in the region.
Supposed gunmen armed with long firearms also barged into the Bangued town hall where the security guard was on duty and killed him there.
Martin hinted that investigators are looking at the angle of personal rivalry among the town hall guards as possible motive behind the shooting but promised the public they will soon nail down the killer.
This even as a veteran lady lawyer said the rash of killings in the province sends “a chill” among trial lawyers like her who handle adversarial political cases.
Some residents, however, claim that the Valera killing was good for her and even thanked the killers because accordingly, the drug queen is making business out in the open as if taunting everyone in the province. # Ace Alegre for NORDIS