CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Butuan City government expressed alarm over the spate of shooting deaths in the city this month and announced cash rewards for those who can help authorities arrest the gunmen.
Butuan Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada on Saturday, June 25, offered P1 million in exchange for information that can lead to the capture of the killers of two local officials.
The rewards, P500,000 each, were announced following the June 24 killing of 45-year-old Florencio Cagas, the barangay chairman of Santo Niño.
Cagas, who was waylaid by motorcycle-riding gunmen, died of four gunshot wounds.
The barangay chairman was killed just three days after gunmen shot to death the youth council chairman of the village of Lumbocan, Nelbert Gacosta, in another barangay.
Gacosta’s killing came less than a week after two still unidentified men shot dead popular Butuan basketball player Jerry John Apas in broad daylight in Barangay Ongyui. The gunmen left a card beside Apas’ bloodied body which called him a “menace ” for allegedly being involved in the illicit drug trade.
Just like the killers of Cagas, the men who attacked Gacosta and Apas fled on motorcycles.
Lagnada expressed alarm and disappointment with the response and work of the Butuan City Police Office (BCPO).
He met with Butuan’s barangay chairpersons and other local officials and told them he was worried because the “loose security” could impact the city’s economy and investors’ confidence.
Butuan’s Liga ng mga Barangay condemned Cagas’ killing, calling the ambush a “treacherous” attack on an “honorable and well-loved official.”
“It’s very alarming. The city residents are scared,” said Councilor Gemma Tabada, the president of the association of barangay chairpersons.
The Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Butuan also released a statement: “The untimely death of Mr. Gacosta reflects the horrible reality of our society where injustice and evil reign. As we condemn all forms of violence and this gruesome incident, we demand immediate justice for Nelbert.”
Gacosta’s group, Sigma Omega Beta Grand Fraternity and Sorority, said the SK chairman’s shooting death was “unacceptable,” even as it appealed to authorities in Butuan to bring the 27-year-old Gacosta’s killers to justice.
Butuan police chief Colonel Excelso Lazada called on the public for help by providing investigators with any useful information about the killings. – Rappler.com
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