Roxas orders probe of board member’s death

Marchel P. Espina
Roxas orders probe of board member’s death
'The police is studying all possible angles and we assure that we are conducting a thorough investigation,' says Police Regional Office-6 director Supt Bernardo Diaz

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II ordered the police here to investigate the death of Provincial Board Member Renato Malabor of the 5th district Negros Occidental province.

This was revealed on Monday, June 29, by Police Regional Office-6 director Supt Bernardo Diaz after meeting Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr to discuss what is alleged to be a politically motivated incident.

Diaz said Roxas directed him to coordinate with the governor to investigate the Sunday shooting incident that killed Malabor and his bodyguard Leody Jumilla outside a cockfighting arena in Barangay Guintubhan in Isabela town. 

Malabor expressed plans of running as Isabela mayor in 2016.

“The police is studying all possible angles and we assure that we are conducting a thorough investigation,” Diaz said.

“We are getting all pieces of evidence and the statement of the witnesses,” he added.

Diaz said Roxas is “very concerned.” The Interior Secretary also gave specific instructions to keep the governor updated on the status of the investigation.

Diaz said a special investigation task force was also formed. It is composed of the Isabela Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Crime Laboratory, and Regional Intelligence Unit. 

A P2 million (US$44,500*) reward was alloted for any information that can lead to the arrest Malabor’s shooters.

“The task force will be supervised by my deputy police regional director for operations while its commander is the provincial police director, Senior Superintendent Samuel Nacion,” Diaz said.

Diaz refused to confirm reports that Malabor was able to reveal the identity of his killer before he died.

A necrological mass was held Monday afternoon at the Provincial Capitol. Malabor’s remains will be brought to his town, Isabela, on Tuesday. 

Governor vs Mayor

Marañon insisted that the incident was politically motivated, dragging Isabela Mayor Enrique Montilla III into the incident. “We will name names if there’s already evidence,” Marañon said.

The governor said he and his fellow board members warned Malabor after he declared a possible mayoral bid in the in 2016. 

Sought for comment, Mayor Montilla challenged the governor to be more “specific.” 

Marañon fired back to say: “That is already very specific. What more?”

Malabor was a known protégée of Montilla when he joined politics as town councilor in 1986. Malabor was also a 3-term mayor before he was elected in the provincial board in the 2013 elections.

Malabor, like Montiilla, used to belong to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of businessman Eduardo Cojuangco. But Malabor has been “cooperative” with the governor and his political party United Negros Alliance.

Meanwhile, the Isabela town declared a state of mourning following the death of its two residents.

 

During the flag ceremony on Monday, Montilla told the municipal employees to “let the law takes its natural course”.

He said that he directed the town police to probe deeper on the incident and that the municipal government is willing to assist in the investigation. – Rappler.com

 *$1 = P45

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