CRIME SCENE. Police cordon off the vehicle of Rhyolite Agregado Balili, the executive secretary of Polomolok, South Cotabato Mayor Bernie Palencia, after an attack near the town hall premises by gunmen aboard a motorbike shortly before noon Friday (March 17, 2023). Balili, a former town councilor, was critically wounded in the incident. (Photo courtesy of RMN GenSan)

KORONADAL CITY – Unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen shot and seriously injured a former town councilor of Polomolok, South Cotabato, while he was on his way to the municipal hall Friday morning.

Former councilor Rhyolite Agregado Balili, now personal secretary of Polomolok Mayor Bernie Palencia, was shot at close range inside his vehicle near the town hall premises.

Balili sustained gunshot wounds in various parts of his body.

Lt. Col. Joseph Forro III, Polomolok police chief, said the victim was taken to a private hospital in nearby General Santos City.

“We are still digging deeper into the case and a manhunt had been launched,” he said in a radio interview.

Palencia has condemned the attack and directed the police to work with the military in tracking down the perpetrators and bring them behind bars.

In January this year, three members of the town’s Civil Security Unit, including a former police major who served as chief civil security, were separately killed by unknown killers. (PNA)