COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/01 May) – A former TV reporter turned human rights investigator for the Bangsamoro region was shot to death by motorcycle-riding assailants while aboard a hired habal-habal whose driver was also killed in the attack.
Archad Ayao, of the Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) of the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), was in his 30s.
He died on the spot after due to a gunshot wound in the head believed caused by a .45 caliber pistol.
The incident happened on Ramon Rabago Street, Rosary Heights 4, Cotabato City around 6:10pm after the victim left his apartment.
A few meters away from his home he hired a single motorcycle commonly known as habal-habal driven by Pio Orteza, a resident of Rosary Heights 4.
Witnesses said they heard three successive gun shots.
Police Colonel Michael Lebanan, Cotabato City police director, said their initial investigation showed the assailants followed the victims and opened fire when the latter slowed down while taking a turn.
“We are working on the CCTVs that can help closely identify the suspects,” Lebanan said over the phone.
The police said they will look closely into the motive of the killing to determine if the killing was related to Ayao’s work as an investigator handling human rights cases in Maguindanao.
Lawyer Abdulnasser Badrudin, director of RHRC-BARMM said they were shocked over the incident and condemned the killing.
Ayao had served the agency for more the five years.
Ayao’s remains were brought by his relatives to his hometown Barangay Katuli in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao for a Muslim burial on Thursday. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)