A councilor of a Sagbayan village who was seeking re-election in the upcoming barangay polls was killed after he was shot by two motorcycle-riding suspects in a probable election-related attack on Thursday afternoon.
Based on initial police investigation, victim Gregorio Mellisa, 50, of Barangay Katipunan in Sagbayan came from the burial of his mother in Inabanga when he was shot multiple times by the suspects.
Mellisa was driving a motorcycle with his nephew, Sherwin Divinagracia, 35, along a secluded road in Barangay Cambitoon in Inabanga during the attack, police said.
He was still rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival while Divanagracia was not hit during the gun attack.
According to Sr. Insp. Mercedarius Balabat of the Inabanga police, they are still continuing their investigation on the case, but he noted that probers are also not discounting the possibility that the crime was politically motivated.
However, investigators are still facing a blank wall as to the identities of the suspects.
Divinagracia was also unable to identify the suspects but he told authorities that he may be able to recognize their faces if he sees them as they were not covering their faces.
For his part, PO3 Anthony Vistal of the Sagbayan Police Station said that they are also not ruling out politics as the motive for the killing.
According to Vistal, election campaigns in Barangay Katipunan have been noticeably intense as some candidates have even resorted to trading personal barbs with their opponents.
Both the villages of Katipunan in Sagbayan and Cambitoon in Inabanga were not included in the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) list of poll “hotspots.”
Sr. Insp. Rufo Potane, chief of the Bohol Provincial Police Office’s Community Relations Branch, said that one of the two villages would likely be added to the election watchlist areas (EWA) due to the incident.
Authorities however have yet to pinpoint which barangay will be added to the EWA. (Allen Doydora with reports from Shaznay Galan, HNU Masscom intern)