COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/12 December) — Three persons were killed and another one was wounded Sunday when a lone gunman entered a residential compound in President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat province and fired at family members who were holding a Christmas reunion.
Police identified the fatalities as Peter Dumrique, Ernesto Ayson and Florante Guillermo, and the wounded victim as Oyet Mateo.
The victims were drinking and singing through a videoke when the assailant entered the compound undetected.
Senior Superintendent Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat provincial police commander said the incident took place around 6:30pm Sunday at the Dumrique residence in Barangay, Katiku, President Quirino.
Police said their investigation showed that the gunman hid behind the bushes in the open garden and opened fired using an M-16 rifle.
The victims were brought to separate hospitals but they were all declared dead on arrival.
The survivor, Mateo, was still recuperating in an undisclosed hospital.
Dumrique, who was believed to be the main target, ran for mayor of President Quirino in May 2016 but lost in a three-cornered fight won by Azel Mangudadatu.
Supiter said Dumrique acquired two security escorts because of persistent threats to his life. However, it was not known where the threats came come from and if these were politically motivated.
Dumrique’s security escorts were SPO1 Jonathan La Forteza of Lambayong police and Corporal Ruel Dordas of the 33rd Infantry Battalion.
Only La Forteza was present when the attack occurred. He fired back but failed to hit the gunman who fled with an accomplice aboard a single motorcycle.
The Army escort had gone home some two hours before the shooting.
Police were still investigating the incident. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)