MANILA – The country’s top cop on Monday said the recent attacks that targeted elective local government officials are isolated cases and do not reflect the peace and order situation in the Philippines as a whole.
“Despite these recent shooting incidents involving elective government officials, in separate locations, there is no evidence that these incidents are connected with each other. From all indications, all these incidents stemmed from peculiar motivations of the assailants and does not reflect the whole peace and order situation in the country wherein for the past months of January and February 2023 a decline of almost 20 percent of crimes were recorded as compared to year 2022 same period,” said PNP chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Monday.
The PNP chief’s remarks came following the attacks against local officials – the latest of which is Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo who was gunned down at his residence compound over the weekend.
“At the end of the day, however, we are confident that we shall be able to find closure to these cases by putting behind bars the persons responsible to these crimes. I would like also to appeal to all peace-loving Filipinos to support your law enforcement sector by providing information for the early solution of these cases,” the PNP chief said.
Azurin, meanwhile, gave updates on the investigation on the cases of attacks against local government officials in the past weeks – Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda; Datu Montawal, Maguindanao del Sur Mayor Ohto Montawal and Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto-Adiong Jr.
On the case of Alameda’s killing last Feb. 19, Azurin said a follow-up investigation has led probers to the registered owner of the burnt getaway vehicle, a Mitsubishi Adventure, where forensic technicians were able to restore the defaced chassis and engine numbers to establish positive identification of the vehicle.
He said the recovered slugs and fired cartridges were compared with other shooting incidents through the PNP’s Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) to identify other leads.
Meanwhile, the PNP chief said Montawal has been discharged from the hospital where he was earlier admitted for treatment of gunshot wounds.
Azurin said investigators have taken the testimonies of two witnesses who were in the immediate vicinity of Roxas Boulevard service road in Pasay City. One of the witnesses also turned over to investigators two fired cartridge cases believed to be from the suspect’s gun.
He added that a review of closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footage is being done by investigators while the gathered footage is being enhanced by the Anti-Cybercrime Group.
Meanwhile, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Bombit” Adiong Jr. is already out of danger despite gunshot wounds sustained during the incident last Feb. 17.
Azurin said the Special Investigation Task Group “Gov Adiong” on March 2 filed criminal complaints for four counts of murder, three counts of frustrated murder, and multiple attempted murders against several suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Marawi City.
“The case is considered cleared and we are just waiting for the issuance of warrants of arrest, once issued, tracker teams will hunt them down and bring them to the bar of justice,” he added. (PNA)