BATANGAS, Philippines – After a reenactment of the Monday morning murder of Antonio Halili, police confirmed that the gunman who shot him positioned himself at the bushes from across the new city hall in Tanauan – with a distance of 76.8 meters from his target.
Chief Superintendent Edward Carranza, Calabarzon police director, was at the crime scene on Thursday, July 5, for the police reenactment of the shooting to make sure the evidence found in the area was not planted to confuse investigators.
“[I can] confirm that the gunman was positioned behind the bushes, and we will continue to explore that area for more evidence,” Carranza said.
Three days after the murder, the police continued to face a blank wall in the investigation.
For the reenactment, a headless mannequin stood at Halili’s spot, while members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) acted as the vice mayor and the councilors who stood beside the mayor during the flag-raising ceremony.
The PNP also played the audio of the recorded video during the shooting, wherein a lone gunshot was heard as the National Anthem reached its ending.
The police then measured the aerial distance of Halili and the supposed position of the gunman, and corrected its own initial report which claimed that the gunman was 160 meters away from Halili.
The actual aerial distance from the gunman to Halili is 76.8 meters, inclined at 88.8 degrees.
This means that the gunman was not only in closer range than previously reported, he was also positioned at a higher level, making the mayor an easy target.
“No matter where the mayor stood, whether he was a few steps away, he would have been shot,” a PNP crime laboratory officer explained in Filipino.
Not a sniper?
Using a metal detector, the PNP also discovered a 5.56 mm bullet from the bushes on Thursday. This was not seen in the crime scene previously.
The PNP Crime Lab said it’s an ordinary bullet, not a double-action bullet as many guessed from the smoke that came out from Halili’s body after the shooting.
Carranza said the gunman could be “an ordinary marksman,” or simply “a person knowledgeable about shooting.”
The general, however, said that it would be “very premature to identify the persons of interest” that the police initially considered as likely suspects behind the murder. “Up to now, we are still fixing the puzzle,” Carranza said.
Investigators are also looking into the likely escape vehicles of the gunman or his possible lookout.
Ten mayors, including Halili, have been killed under the Duterte administration. – Rappler.com