MURDERED. Volunteers load the two wounded mobile merchants into a police car en route to the hospital following their ambush in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, on Tuesday (Nov. 15, 2022). Both were pronounced dead on arrival by attending physicians. (Photo courtesy of Datu Salibo MPS)

COTABATO CITY – Police tracker teams are hot on the trail of two men riding tandem on a motorbike who shot dead two mobile merchants in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao del Sur, on Tuesday.

Maj. Roldan Kuntong, the town police chief, identified the fatalities as Ninonel Bentoy, 28; and Carl Denilla, 24, both of Pikit town, North Cotabato.

“Pursuit operation is ongoing following the shooting that occurred at 9 a.m. in Barangay Pagatin, Datu Salibo,” Kuntong said in a report.

He said the victims, who were on a motorbike driven by Denilla, were heading home from Barangay Sambolawan when ambushed.

Kuntong said the victims were door-to-door merchants selling plastic wares, sala sets, and other home decors on a loan basis or daily payment scheme.

Police found empty shells for a .45-caliber pistol and a 9 mm. pistol at the site of the ambush.

Kuntong said investigators are eyeing robbery as a motive since the suspects took the victims’ motorbike and sling bag that contained their collection money.

Police are looking for possible “persons of interest” from the village the victims last visited, he added. (PNA)