KILLED IN AMBUSH. Former chairperson Felipe Sara Maluenda of Barangay Kidama in Matalam, North Cotabato province; and his worker Joseph Mariano Flores, slump dead inside the white sedan vehicle the ex-official was driving following their ambush on Sunday evening (Aug. 14, 2022). A manhunt is ongoing against the killers. (Photo courtesy of Matalam MPS)

MATALAM, North Cotabato – A police manhunt is underway against a group behind the ambush-slay of a former village chief and his worker in Barangay Kidama here on Sunday evening.

Lt. Col Jingle Parallag, town police chief, identified Monday the victims as Felipe Sara Maluenda, 61, former chairperson of Barangay Kidama, and Joseph Mariano Flores, a laborer and resident of Alamada town, North Cotabato province.

Parallag said Maluenda was driving his sedan together with Flores on their way to Barangay Kilada when gunmen positioned on both sides of the road at a local sugarcane plantation opened fire on them around 7:00 pm.

Both victims were brought to separate hospitals here but were declared dead on arrival by the attending physicians.

“The victims obtained fatal wounds in different parts of their body,” she said.

 Police recovered eight pieces of empty shells from an M16 rifle, another empty shell from a .45-caliber pistol, and other pieces of evidence.

“The suspects swiftly ran into the sugarcane plantation after the incident”, Parallag said.

“Our investigation is ongoing,” she said, declining to give more information so as not to jeopardize police operation. (PNA)