Barangay peacekeeper is suspect in benefit dance killing

KIDAPAWANCITY (MindaNews/17 March) — A 23-year old construction worker was killed while two others were wounded in a shooting incident after a benefit dance in Makilala,North Cotabato, at around 2 a.m. Saturday.

The suspect is believed to be a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) and  reportedly the personal bodyguard of  Boy Bautista, chair of Barangay San Vicente. Bautista, however, denied the allegations that suspect Roger Binigay is his personal bodyguard but admitted he is a member of the BPAT.

Police identified the slain victim as Procopio Opeleña, 23, of Barangay San Vicente, Makilala.
Injured were his 19-year old brother Raymart and cousin John Mark Lasang, 21.

RickAlbores, one of the survivors in the shooting incident, told police they were on their way home after attending a ‘Disco ng Bayan’ when waylaid by a gunman on board a motorcycle.

The suspect whom Albores identified as Roger Binigay, one of the civilian guards atBarangay San Vicente, allegedly first shot Lasang on his shoulder then Procopio’s head and Raymart’s chest and right arm.

Procopio died on the spot while the two were rushed to the Makilala Medical Specialist Center for treatment.

Albores said that before the shooting incident, the victims had engaged in a fistfight with another group of disco-goers led by a certain Dodong Amores, also aresident of Barangay San Vicente.

Albores, however, could not establish if Amores was with the gunman when the shooting incident happened.

“WhatI only saw was that Amores sought help from the civilian guards assigned at the benefit dance after he was hit by the punches of one of the victims,” Albores said in Cebuano.

The Makilala Police has been tracking down Binigay who immediately fled, along with the driver of the motorcycle he used as getaway vehicle.

Bautista said he was disappointed that the benefit dance, which was supposed to be an income-generating project of the Sangguniang Kabataan, had turned out to be bloody.

Recovered from the crime site were empty shells from a caliber 38 revolver that the suspect used in the attack, police said. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)