RTC judge shot dead in Zamboanga del Norte

DIPOLOG CITY (MindaNews / 9 May) – A Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge in Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte, 130 kilometers west of here, was shot dead by a still unidentified assailant in the parking lot of the municipality’s Bulwagan ng Katarungan at about 3 p.m. Thursday.

In an initial report, SSg Celso D. Suganob, of the Liloy Municipality Police Office, identified the victim as Judge Reymar Lacaya of RTC Branch 28.

Capt. Gregorio Bongolan, Liloy municipal police chief, said Lacaya was about to board his Toyota Hilux pickup when shot, sustaining multiple gunshot wounds on his head and body.

Lacaya was brought to the Liloy District Hospital but was already dead upon arrival at the medical facility.

“We are still investigating how many gunmen were involved in the shooting,” Bongolan said.

The Liloy police said they have difficulty in solving the case because Lacaya was alone when the incident happened.

Furthermore, Bongolan said the courthouse building has no CCTV cameras.

Lacaya was just transferred to Liloy from the municipality of Sindangan, also in Zamboanga del Norte, three months ago. Lawyers from Dipolog said politics could not be the motive because the victim was not handling election cases.

Atty. Ronald Barbaso, a lawyer from Dipolog who is now practicing in Manila, posted on his Facebook account that the killing of Lacaya has chilling effect on their profession.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, said in its Twitter account that “[Chief Justice Lucas] Bersamin and the entire Judiciary condemn in the strongest possible terms” the killing of Lacaya.

The SC likewise urged authorities “to exert their best efforts for the immediate apprehension of those responsible for Judge Lacaya’s death.” (With reports from Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)