Village chair shot dead in Surigao City

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/25 November) – A barangay chair in the city was shot dead Sunday evening by an unidentified assailant, police said Tuesday.

Police Supt. Julito Diray, chief of police of Surigao del Norte PNP, identified the victim as Lucresio “Lolong” Mesias, chair of barangay Lipata.

Mesias, 59, was sitting in a waiting shed just outside his own SL Pension House, which is just several meters away from his home, when he was shot at pointblank range. He succumbed to five gunshot wounds in several parts of the body, police said.

After the shooting the victim was rushed to Surigao Medical Center, but physicians declared him dead on arrival.

Investigators recovered four empty shells and three slugs of a still unidentified firearm.

Police said they are looking into personal grudge as well as illegal drugs as the motive of the killing, the victim being a supporter of the campaign against illegal drugs in his barangay.

Shortly after the shooting, police arrested Jimmy Tamayo, a resident of Barangay Lipata.

Police said Mesias had mediated a complaint for domestic violence between Tamayo and his wife a day before the killing. During that hearing Tamayo allegedly uttered threatening words against the barangay chairman.

But Tamayo denied any involvement in the killing. He said he was at home with his wife when the killing occurred and he would have fled if he was the gunman.

The killing of Mesias came over a month after the fatal shooting of a former barangay chair in a crowded cockfighting arena.

Constante “Tante” M. Elumba, 58, a former chair of Barangay Togbongon, was shot on October 6 inside the Pyramid cockpit arena near the national highway in Barangay Luna, where a police checkpoint is located a few meters away from the crime scene.

The gunman was said to have casually walked and sped away on board a motorbike.

Elumba’s killing has remained unsolved. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)