GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 Aug) – South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes is pushing for a P200,000 reward for the arrest of suspects who were behind the murder of a barangay chair in Koronadal City last week.
Fuentes said Tuesday she will pursue the setting of the reward money for the killers of Barangay Topland chairman Baltazar Bermil during the a scheduled meeting this week of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC).
She said the move is mainly aimed to fast-track the ongoing investigation and ensure the resolution of the case.
“The reward money will be given to any police authority or private person who can lead us to discover who really did the assassination,” she said.
Bermil and his cousin were on their way to the city proper aboard a barangay service vehicle when they were waylaid by two motorcycle-riding suspects at a portion of Purok Garcia in Barangay Rotonda at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday last week.
The victim, who was driving the service vehicle, died on-the-spot due to three gunshot wounds. His cousin, Nida Parcon, sustained two gunshot wounds but survived the attack.
Fuentes said she will gather officials and personnel of concerned law enforcement agencies in an executive forum at the PPOC meeting “so we will know and understand what is happening in our province right now.”
She said the provincial government and local authorities need “to be tough” on such kind of incidents.
“We need to get into the bottom of this. We’ve known chairman Bermil as a good person and had not been involved in any illegal activity,” she said.
Two weeks before the incident, Bermil figured in a controversy after one of his nephews was arrested in a major drug raid in his village that resulted to the recovery of around P2.36 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
The joint operatives nabbed eight other persons and seized several firearms and a rifle grenade.
Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel earlier disclosed that three barangay chairmen in the city and several other village councilors are being monitored by authorities due to their alleged involvement in illegal drug-related activities.
In line with the incident, the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office has created a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) based on a directive issued by Gov. Fuentes.
SITG Bermil is headed by the provincial police director, Sr. Supt. Franklin Alvero, and composed of personnel from the Koronadal City police station and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Fuentes said she ordered the task force to look into the possible involvement of local drug groups and other private armed elements into the incident.
“We want them identified and neutralized before they can victimize other people,” she added. (MindaNews)