UPDATE: Bukidnon mayor killed in ambush

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/02 July) – The municipal mayor of Impasugong, Bukidnon died while being treated for gunshot wounds sustained in an ambush Wednesday by suspected New People’s Army guerrillas.

An aide said Mayor Mario Okinlay, who was in Barangay Bontongon for the weekly “hatud serbisyo” (service delivery) was attacked by three armed men past 8:00 a.m.

Inspector Joan Galvez, public information officer of the provincial police office, said the ambush happened in Kinapuntan, Barangay Bontongon.

Galvez said the attackers fired at the convoy hitting Okinlay in the stomach and left arm. His police and military escorts gave the mayor first aid before bringing him to the Malaybalay Polymedic General Hospital.

A source at the hospital said a rescue team brought Okinlay there around 10:00 a.m.

Melquisedes Po, medical director of the hospital, said in a written statement given to reporters waiting outside that Okinlay was “brought in unconscious and nonresponsive with no heart and pulse rates, no spontaneous breathing and no blood pressure.”

“He sustained multiple gunshot wounds on the back and arms. He was pronounced dead at 11:23 a.m. July 2,” the statement added.

Reporters were barred from entering the hospital.

Okinlay and other town officials had been in Bontongon since Tuesday and were scheduled to return to the town proper Wednesday.

He had police and military escorts but was driving his motorcycle when the attack occurred.

Former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who went inside Okinlay’s ward, said the mayor died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Zubiri condemned the killing as barbaric and called on authorities to go after the perpetrators.

Galvez said police and military operatives were deployed to track down the attackers.

Okinlay was first elected mayor in 1998 and served until 2007. He was replaced by his wife, Julia Okinlay, from 2007-2010. In 2010, he regained his post and was re-elected last year.

Okinlay, a Higaonon, obtained a degree at Xavier University. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)