GenSan councilor shot; assailant killed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 September) —  Councilor Ronel Rivera was seriously wounded in a shooting incident by an apparent jealous gunman who was killed by responding bodyguards of the city official early dawn Saturday.

Reports said Rivera, the city’s number one councilor and son of a fishing magnate, had offered a ride to Sheila Tañeda, owner of several bars in the city, to her brother’s house along Mateo Compound. Upon arrival, the gunman reportedly knocked at the door of the councilor’s SUV and immediately fired his gun at him.

Rivera who was reportedly in a convoy of at least three vehicles – his SUV, his bodyguards’ and the vehicle of Tañeda’s brother and friends — was hit on the neck and other parts of his body.

His bodyguards fired back at the gunman who was identified as Januart de la Cruz, reportedly an off and on boyfriend of the 28-year old Tañeda.

De la Cruz was later brought to the hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

Rivera is under careful watch by his doctors at the St. Elizabeth Hospital.  He reportedly sustained a gunshot wound on his neck and at least one on his chest.

Police are mum about the details of the incident saying investigations are still ongoing.

A police investigator who requested that his name be withheld,  however,  said the gunman was apparently waiting outside the rented apartment of Tañeda’s brother inside his L-200 pick up truck.

Rivera, who had just arrived from Cebu where he celebrated his birthday with his family, was with friends at the Cassado Billiards Bar earlier in the night after attending to guests of the 13th Tuna Congress.

Tañeda who reportedly had just come from the Oval Plaza where she put up a stall for the ongoing Tuna Festival, arrived at the bar past 1:30 in the morning with some gay friends and her brother.

Police said the handgun of  de la Cruz is missing including the shoulder bag of Rivera which contained his personal handgun.

The window at the passenger side of Rivera’s Nissan Patrol car was shattered by bullets which the police are still examining.

Bula police station chief Senior Insp. Hoover Antonio said they still cannot determine the caliber of the slugs recovered from the shooting scene.

Tañeda was still in a state of shock and declined to be interviewed, according to her elder sister, Lanie.

Rivera is the third son of fishing magnate Rodrigo Rivera Sr.

He topped the elections for councilor in 2010 and is said to be a strong candidate for mayor.

Police ruled out politics in the shooting incident. (Edwin G. Espejo, MindaNews contributor, writes for the Asian Correspondent)