Pres. Quirino vice mayor slain

Insp. Isabelo Rufino Jr., President Quirino police chief, said Vice Mayor Froilan Rufino was waylaid by two unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants in front of his home in Barangay Katiku, President Quirino at 6:20 p.m. Monday.

"He just arrived from work (at the municipal hall) when he was shot," the police official said.

Citing accounts from witnesses, Rufino said the vice mayor was reportedly walking towards his house when two men aboard a Kawasaki Bajaj motorcycle approached and shot him several times.

He said police investigators found at least 12 empty 9mm shells, which they theorized as likely fired from an automatic weapon.

He said the attackers reportedly then sped off towards the eastern portion of barangay Katiku.

Responding residents rushed the vice mayor, who sustained four gunshot wounds on his head and body, to nearby Romualdez-Katiku Community Hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the facility.

Insp. Rufino, a first cousin of the slain vice mayor, said they are still facing a blank wall as to the motive and the identity of the assailants.

But he said the manner of the killing clearly shows that the killers were hired gunmen.

A few hours before the incident, he said, the vice mayor came to him and briefly mentioned about a supposed threat on his life.

"Sinabi nya lang, ako nga may threat e. Pero wala na siyang ibinigay na ibang detalye (He just told me that he has received some threats but he did not give out the details)," he said.
“I was about to give him the bodyguards he needed. He wanted two additional police escorts. But it was already too late,” he said. 

Rufino said they are currently trying to determine whether the vice mayor, who owns several businesses in the area, had some known enemies.

"The investigation is ongoing and we've been talking to some witnesses who could help us in identifying the suspects," he said.

He dismissed insinuations that Moro rebels were responsible for the vice mayor’s death.

Rufino said the vice mayor's remains, which was subjected to post-mortem examination at a funeral parlor in Tacurong City this morning, will be brought to the town's Sangguniang Bayan session hall later today.

He said the vice mayor's family has decided to transfer the wake later this week to their house in Davao City.

The police official dismissed as baseless speculations that the killing was an offshoot of the explosion that injured three members of a family and two other persons in Katiku village of the same town.

On Christmas Day, a grenade went off inside the Salamanca family’s house and injured Maximiano Salamanca, two other members of his family, and Darwin Pacania and Crisanto Torres.

The Salamanca house is just
a few meters away from the house of the vice mayor. (Allen V. Estabillo with reports from Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)