An employee of the Batuan local government unit (LGU) was gunned down by heavily armed men believed to have been New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the interior municipality on Sunday night.
The fatality identified as Pio Lingatong, 52, who was an ambulance driver for the Batuan LGU, was shot dead several meters away from his home in Barangay Aloja, Batuan, said Corporal Julius Eulogio, investigator for the Batuan Police Station.
According to Eulogio, four suspects went to Lingatong’s home and asked him to accompany them to the village chief’s residence.
After walking for some 15 meters from his house however, Lingatong was shot in the head by one of the suspects using a .45 caliber pistol. Another man then shot him in the chest with an M16 rifle.
Lingatong’s wife also spoke with the suspects prior to the gun attack but was unable to see their faces as they were wearing facemasks.
“Naimbestigar nato ang iyang asawa ug anak, naistorya man diay jud nila ning mga suspect although unidentified kay wa pud sila makaila, pero nakahinabi nila,” said Eulogio.
“Ang iyang asawa nakaila siya sa mga build pero wa siya kaila sa mga dagway,” he added.
It was noted that the men appeared to have been unarmed when they went to the Lingatongs’ home.
Meanwhile, Scene of the Crime Operatives found in the area spent bullet shells fired from a .45 caliber pistol, an M16 rifle and two from an AK47 rifle.
Eulogio said that the person carrying the AK47 only fired warning shots.
Investigators are still determining if Lingatong knew the suspects considering that he willingly went with them before he was shot.
“Ato pa ng gisuta kung kaila ba na sa biktima na nganong hing kujog man pud og lain taw pa to,” he added.
The fatal shooting of Lingatong is the fourth attack allegedly perpetrated by members of the NPA in a span of less than three months which have all been in the interior portion of Bohol, particularly Batuan.
Men who claimed to be NPA rebels gunned down 66-year-old Germenihelda Dologuin in the adjacent municipality of Sevilla on December 19.
On November 22, former Philippine Army soldier Kenneth Cordero was critically shot by a still unidentified gunman who was armed with a long firearm and who claimed to be an NPA member in Batuan.
He sustained a gunshot wound in his abdomen while his face was grazed with a bullet
Also in Batuan, alleged NPA rebels shot dead Diosdado Diez, 48, who was a former Army reservists who continued to work as an asset for the PA.
Diez was flagged down by at least five alleged rebels then gunned down while driving his motorcycle with his niece, a minor, on board. The girl was unscathed during the attack.
While the local government has maintained that Bohol is still considered insurgency-free, there have been several encounters between state forces and the rebel group in the past two years.
The clashes erupted in far-flung villages including barangays in Batuan. (A. Doydora)