The mayor of Calbayog City in Samar has died after an alleged shootout between his staff and police on Monday afternoon.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas said Calbayog Mayor Ronaldo Aquino was one of the three killed in the encounter. Earlier it was reported that an escort of the mayor was killed.
A policeman was also killed and his companion was injured.
According to Sinas, the details of the incident are not yet complete, but they are sure it was a shootout and not an ambush as first reported.
Aquino was traveling when the shooting happened at the Laboyao Bridge in Brgy. Lonoy around 5:30 p.m.
Based on preliminary information from the PNP, the mayor’s group first opened fire on the vehicle of the policemen who allegedly just passed by.
“Ang mga pulis natin who were passing by, based sa initial findings ng mga pulis natin, ay binaril ng mga escort ni mayor. Hindi nila alam na pulis ang nandoon sa loob, tapos ang mga pulis gumanti na lang,” said Sinas.
(Our policemen who were passing by, based on the initial findings of our policemen, were shot by the mayor’s escorts. They did not know that the police were inside, then the police just retaliated.)
Earlier, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said that Sinas is already investigating the incident with Region 8 Police director Brig. Gen. Ronaldo de Jesus.
Calbayog City mayor dead in shootout against police
Meanwhile, former Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, who also served as mayor of Calbayog City, condemns the killing of Aquino.
“I am very, very, sad. I strongly condemn. Hope justice will be served to his family,” Sarmiento said in a phone interview.
Aquino and Sarmiento are members of the Liberal Party, the dominant political party in Calbayog.
A city councilor also said that the council was shocked and saddened by the killing of Mayor Aquino.
“The entire people of Calbayog are now in shock. Hope the police could resolve this soon,” he said.
Vice mayor Diego Rivera would replace Aquino as mayor of Calbayog based on rules of succession.
Aquino is the second mayor of Calbayog City who got killed in an ambush.