GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/1 Feb) – The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 12 launched a manhunt against the suspected gunman who shot and killed General Santos publisher Christopher Guarin on the evening of January 5 following the filing of murder case Wednesday morning.
CIDG regional chief and Task Force Guarin vice chair Senior Supt. Albert Ignatius Ferro said murder charges were already filed against one Marvin Palabrica who was “positively” identified by at least three witnesses from a police rogue gallery of suspected guns for hire operating in the region.
CIDG director Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao also made the announcement in the national press.
The suspect Palabrica is also known by his nickname Niño and is also facing several murder cases.
Ferro however declined to name the witnesses for security reasons.
The suspected gunman is said to be a resident of this city but has been on the lam after he was also charged for the murder of at least two other persons, one of them a councilor in nearby Polomolok town in South Cotabato.
Guarin was on his way home with wife and daughter on the evening of January 5 when the suspect then riding in tandem pulled up besides his car and started shooting at the victim.
Guarin was wounded in the first volley but managed to drive his car several meters away before pulling up and running away from the gunman who chased and continue to fire at him.
The gunman fled after pumping in more bullets to Guarin, who fell to the ground.
The Tatak Bigtime News publisher was brought to the hospital but didn’t make it alive.
Ferro said they still could not establish the reason behind Guarin’s assassination but are looking into several business angles as possible motives.
But he also added there is a strong possibility that a third party acted as a go-between between the gunman and the mastermind.
Ferro declined to further elaborate.
He said the capture of the gunman alive could possibly lead to the identity of the mastermind.
The police breakthrough came 28 days after Guarin was killed.
Guarin was the first media man killed this year and the 10th under the government of President Benigno Aquino III.
He also became the 150th journalist killed since the National Union of Journalist Philippines began chronicling such attacks against the press in the Philippines. (Edwin Espejo / MindaNews contributor)