crimes in the Philippines

Son of slain Calbayog mayor’s case on surrender of alleged killers: ‘Kulang pa rin’

Lance Lim
Son of slain Calbayog mayor’s case on surrender of alleged killers: ‘Kulang pa rin’

MURDER. The Samar police initially said they killed Calbayog Mayor Ronald Aquino in a shootout, but the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said that more than 50 witnesses and video and CCTV footage showed the March 8, 2021 hit was planned.

Jazmin Bonifacio

The family of slain mayor Ronaldo Aquino is still gathering more evidence to find the mastermind

SAMAR, Philippines – The son of slain Calbayog mayor Ronaldo Aquino said he welcomes the surrender of those accused in his father’s death, but said it’s still enough. 

The nine police officers linked to the death of mayor Aquino surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday, February 15 in Camp Crame. 

Judge Cicero Lampasa of Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Calbayog City had issued arrest warrants a day before their surrender for murder and frustrated murder

The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the cops in January this year for the March 8, 2021 ambush-slay.

“Para sa pamilya namin, masaya kami na naabutan na ng warrant of arrest ang mga pulis na involved sa pagpatay sa tatay ko. Pero, kulang pa rin para sa amin kasi hindi pa napi-pinpoint kung sino ang mga mastermind,” Aquino told Rappler in an interview. 

(We’re happy that they served warrant of arrest on the police officers involved in the murder of my father. But it’s still not enough because the mastermind behind the killing still has not been pinpointed.)

Calbayog mayor Ronald Aquino was killed on March 8, 2021 in what police initially claimed was a gunfight. (Courtesy of Mark Aquino)

Aquino also dismissed speculations on social media about the mastermind, including one linking a family member. 

“Hindi ko masyadong binibigyan ng pansin ‘yun kasi wala pa namang ebidensiya. Sa ngayon, patuloy pa tayong maghahanap ng ebidensiya. Kung may bago mang development, malalaman naman natin ‘yun,” he said. 

(I don’t pay attention to those posts on social media because there is no evidence yet. Right now, we’re focusing on gathering more evidence. If there’s a new development in the case, we’ll definitely let the public know)

Mark Aquino, son of the slain Calbayog mayor Ronaldo Aquino, speaks at a Senate investigation. (Senate photo)

Aquino said he hopes the development in the case will change the political landscape in Samar including his hometown in Calbayog. 

Calbayog has long been dubbed as “Killbayog” due to the number of politically motivated killings in this city. 

Then mayor Reynaldo “Ining” Uy was also murdered in 2011 during his term as mayor. 

Aquino and his companions, on the other hand, were killed when they were ambushed in Labuyao Bridge in Barangay Lonoy in Calbayog City. 

In June of that year, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) told Senate probers that members of the Samar police force had planned the hit for months, based on affidavits of more than 50 witnesses, CCTV and other video footage and records of cellular phones.

Meanwhile, the younger Aquino said they are planning to hold a mass at the crime scene on the upcoming death anniversary celebration of his father’s death on March 8. – Rappler.com

Lance Lim is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

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