Police probers are careful in issuing categorical statements regarding the investigation of the ambush of Buenavista mayoralty bet Rico Cabarrubias last Monday afternoon which happened on the second day of the election period.
PNP Prov’l Director Julius Gornez said the findings of the on-going probe will be officially released once the police will be ready to file the appropriate charges against the suspects responsible behind the ambush.
Until press time, the newly installed PNP provincial chief appealed to the public to just await the findings of their investigation even as there are reports that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is also slated to conduct a separate probe on the incident.
Gov. Edgar Chatto ordered the police to expedite the investigation before public speculation will run high as to the real motive behind the broad daylight ambush of a political figure in Buenavista town.
During his courtesy call to the Governor’s Mansion, PSSupt. Gornez was told by the governor that if the police suspects that the ambush has something to do with the profession of Cabarrubias as a lawyer, then the probers can dig up the records on whether there are cases handled by the victim which could endanger his life.
If it has nothing to do with his profession as a lawyer, then probers will have to look into whether the mayoralty candidate received death threats since he accepted the offer to run for mayor of Buenavista under the banner of Rep. Art Yap and Rep. Rene Relampagos of Padayon Bol-anon.
Until press time, Cabarruibias refrained from issuing any press statements regarding the ambush incident.
Rep. Relampagos as well as Provincial Administrator Ae Damalerio both said the ambush was politically motivated.
Relampagos, however, did not mention nor insinuate on who was behind the ambush.
The two Padayon stalwarts said that Buenavista town which has always been in the Comelec watch list could not be isolated from such incident especially that its mayor, Ronald “Sampol” Tirol was gunned down inside a cockpit arena last year.
Atty. Dave Duallo succeeded Tirol being the elected vice mayor during the 2016 polls.
Mayor Duallo and Cabarrubias were classmates and known to be close friends.
For his part, gubernatorial bet Yap strongly denounced the frustrated murder of their mayoralty bet while he asked the new Bohol police chief to “prove he is up to the task of being given a plum post, to do everything possible, to unmask the perpetrators of this dastardly crime and bring the guilty to justice.”
“We can not allow lawlessness and violence in Bohol. It must be answered with the full strength and force of the law,” Yap stressed.
Buenavista Mayor Duallo expressed deep sadness over the ambush and killing of the driver of his political opponent, Atty. Rico Cabarrubias as he expressed his utmost distress on accusations that the ambush was “politically motivated.”
Duallo poured out his sentiments during an interview with DYRD “Inyong Alagad” last Wednesday after he felt that he was being alluded to as the brains behind the dastardly assault perpetrated by still unknown assailants in an isolated stretch of highway in Barangay Tulang, Jetafe.
“I was deeply shocked when I learned that an ambush was executed against my close friend that caused the death of his driver. This act of violence has smeared my efforts to erase the stigma of barbarity that has always stained the reputation of Buenavista as a town wracked by a culture of violence.”
“Since I took over the mayorship of Buenavista after the killing of Mayor Tirol on May 27, 2018, I have made my priority the peace and order situation. There has been no incidence of violence since I sat as mayor,” according to Duallo.
Duallo lashed at Rep. Relampagos who pinned the ambush and killing on politics as “the height of irresponsibility” especially coming from a person of his stature.
“Is this a statement from a congressman? His accusations are baseless and bereft of any evidence. And besides, he should bring this up with the police and not to the media because of its sensitivity.”
Upon being informed of Relampagos categorical conclusion, Duallo vigorously denied any knowledge of the planning and execution of the killing of his classmate and colleague in the law profession.
“I did not file a case of disqualification against Rico on the basis of a questionable authority of Relampagos to sign the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA). I refrained from filing the petition in recognition of our close friendship with Rico. The petition was filed by Hernani Fuentes, my relative.”
According to Duallo, the name of Cabarrubias was not in the Consolidated list of all substitute candidates for local positions for Bohol as released by the Comelec.
The local office of the Comelec said that Cabarrubias is officially recognized as a mayoralty bet of Buenavista as the protest was already resolved by Comelec en banc.
The statement of the local Comelec came after it was mentioned that in the website of the commission the name of Cabarubias is not yet listed.
Cabarrubias and his driver, Conrado Aniasco were heading home after a court hearing in Talibon and was trailed by two unidentified hitmen on board a motorcycle shortly at around 1:50 PM.
According to the initial investigation of the Jetafe Police Station, the hitman fired three shots from a .45 caliber handgun upon coming abreast from the left side of the Toyota Fortuner the victims were on board fatally hitting Aniasco in the armpit who was declared dead on the spot by responding Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).
Cabarrubias who was seated at the right front side was unhurt after he managed to escape by leaping out of the vehicle and scampered to a nearby house.
Lawyer Cabarrubias told Gov. Chatto that he normally drives his car.
The statement of the mayoralty bet gave more weight to the report that indeed he was the target of the ambush with the triggerman thinking that he was the one driving the vehicle on their way home from Talibon.
The ambush was carried out in a remote part of a highway 12 kilometers from Talibon and 20 kilometers from the town poblacion of Buenavista.
A Special Task Force was created by Provincial Police Director Gornez to pursue the killers and bring justice to Cabarrubias and Anasco. (with reports from Chito M. Visarra)