CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY â€“ The national leadership of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterteâ€™s party has called for an immediate investigation into the shooting death of one of its coordinators on Sunday.
Based on a police report, Gomercindo Piloton, 49 and one of Duterteâ€™s supporters, was shot several times and died on the spot inside his store in Barangay Bayanga here.
In a statement, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), urged authorities â€œto conduct a thorough investigation of Pilotonâ€™s murder and to exert all-out efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice.â€
â€œWe demand justice for Piloton since we believe his murder is the direct offshoot of his work with the party as area coordinator. This should not go unpunished as this incident is a brazen mockery of our electoral process,â€ he added.
Marlo Tabac, head of the local PDP-Laban council, said he informed Pimentel about Pilotonâ€™s killinghours after the attack and the senator instructed him to verify all information and coordinate with authorities in the investigation.
Tabac said the partyâ€™s national and local councils would also extend assistance to the victimâ€™s family.
Police were still determining, as of Monday, if the shooting of Piloton had something to do with politics.
Senior Insp. Michael Deloso, the city police spokesperson, in an interview,Â said it was too early for authorities to tell if the killing could be classified as an election-related incident (ERI).
A special committee created by the Philippine National Policeâ€™s regional office would determine if a killing or an attack could be considered an ERI.
Based on initial investigation, Deloso said, Piloton was reportedly involved in treasure hunting activities and this was one of the angles that the police have started to check.
â€œHe (Piloton) was just dragged into politics because he was identified as one of Duterteâ€™s supporters,â€ he added.
Citing a police report, Pimentel said Piloton went to the hinterland villages of Taglimao and Tumpagon on April 30 to give last-minute instructions to a group of poll watchers as part of their orientation in preparation for the May 9 local and national elections.
Insp. Dennie Ebsolo, police station 8 chief, was quoted as saying Piloton had no criminal record prior to his death.
Pilotonâ€™s common-law wife earlier said she believed her partnerâ€™s death might have something to do with his involvement in the campaign of Duterte. (Philippine Daily Inquirer)