Family of 4 killed in S. Kudarat ambush

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Feb) – A family of four was killed in an ambush on Wednesday evening in an outskirt village in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province.

Senior Supt. Alex dela Rosa, Sultan Kudarat police director, said Thursday the entire Debarbo family was heading home aboard a motorcycle at past 9 p.m. when they were waylaid by unidentified gunmen at a portion of Barangay Sampao, which is about two kilometers away from the town proper of Isulan.

He said the victims had just attended a birthday party in another village when the incident happened.

“It was clearly planned and it appears that the suspects were familiar with the victims’ movements,” the police official said in a radio interview.

Dela Rosa identified the victims as couple Rey and Reynalie Debarbo and their children Catherine Faith, 14, and Karen, 8, all residents of Leonora Subdivision in Barangay Kalawag, Isulan.

He said the victims reportedly died instantly due to multiple gunshot wounds on their heads and bodies.

Responding scene of the crime operatives recovered in the area multiple spent shells of caliber .45 handgun and 5.56mm Armalite rifle, he said.

Police Officer 1 Ernie Lagania, the designated case investigator, said they were still determining the motive of the killing and the identity of the possible suspects.

“We’re still gathering more evidences and looking for possible witnesses,” he told MindaNews in a phone interview.

Lagania said the relatives of the victims could not say whether the victims, especially the Debarbo patriarch, had received any threat on their lives prior to the incident.

He said they were also not aware of any person or group who were holding possible grudges against the Debarbo family.

Lagania said the Debarbo family owns a small business and operates several motorcycles-for-hire or habal-habal.

He added that the 45-year-old Debarbo patriarch was a former pastor of the Fundamental Baptist denomination in the area. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)