By LEILANI ADRIANO
SARRAT, Ilocos Norte— Barely five days before barangay elections, the vice president of the Liga ng mga Baranggay and a re-electionist barangay captain vying for his third and final term in Brgy. 2 San Agustin of this town was gunned down at about 8:40 PM on October 19, police reports said.
Based on the initial investigation, Police Senior Inspector Cristopher Danao reported that the victim identified as Francis Ganir Carino, 49, was drinking with friends at the backyard of a certain Mario Palafox of the same barangay when three male persons on board an Isuzu Trooper with plate number WLX 984 called the attention of the victim and the victim invited them in Iluko “dumanonkayo no kayatyo ti uminom” (come here if you want to drink).
Eyewitnesses at the crime scene told police investigators that a certain Rexel Sison entered the premises and joined the group followed by the gun man identified as Lito Torda of Sinait, Ilocos Sur and a certain Richard Borjal, all known as bodyguards of Sarrat town mayor Edito Balintona.
As the gun man approached the victim, witnesses heard him saying “Agkakaduatayo met laeng kapitan?” (Are we not all acquaintances, kapitan?) and shot him repeatedly. The suspects immediately escaped after the shooting incident on board a vehicle owned by the town mayor.
The victim was rushed to the Gov. Roque B. Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital in Laoag City but his attending physician declared him dead on arrival.
At the crime scene, the PNP recovered at least four empty shells of caliber .45 pistol.
With the help of the local community in identifying the suspects, provincial director Marlou Chan reported that Sison was already nabbed by the PNP while two of the suspects remain at large as of press time. Local police investigators have yet to identify the motive of the killing.
Mayor Balintona lamented that the killing happened amidst strict enforcement of the gun ban. He appealed to the general public not to speculate and wait for further investigation of the PNP. He assured that he will assist the family of the victims and help them achieve justice.
Paul Baltazar, ABC president of Sarrat town described the victim as jolly at all times. He said they had been friends with mayor Balintona as the latter supported him during the last elections.
The Commission on Elections said they still have to study further if the said barangay will be put under the election watch list. # nordis.net