Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Urbiztondo Mayor Tries to Pull his Handgun vs. Killers


URBIZTONDO, Pangasinan –After the first volley of fire from the guns of the assailants, the former mayor here tried to draw his gun to retaliate but his right hand was disabled after it was hit by the bullets of his killers.
Senior Inspector Michael Bautista, the chief of police here, told former Pangasinan’s Congressman Mark Cojuangco who stood as the godfather of the son of the late mayor last June 8 – a day after his assassination.
Bautista said that just after the assailants opened the doors of the Toyota Innova vehicle near the back of the branch of CSI Supermarket they immediately disembarked guns blazing against the mayor and the other victims.
He said witnesses saw two males wielding an M-16 Armalite and another assassin  firing a 9mm hand gun.
“At the first salvo the mayor was hit by bullets on his right chest and right shoulder. He tried to run away from the killers as he tried to pull out his hand gun from his waistline but he did not make it as his hand became handicapped by the shots,” the chief of police said.
Balolong, according to media friends, carried a 45 and a 9 mm he tucked or hid on his waistline or side pants' pocket.
In this assassination, Balolong was hit by 27 bullets, his police body guard Police Office 1 Elisio Ulanday, and Edmund Meneses, a CSI employee were pronounced dead too while Rex Ferrer, personal aide of Balolong, and Jose Vigilla, CSI worker were wounded.
He said Dr. Samuel Elguera told family members that when he arrived at the Elguera Hospital in San Carlos he was already dead as a result of excessive gunfire fire he absorbed.
After the shooting that commenced at 8:50 Am of June 8, the getaway vehicle was abandoned by the killers at Barangay Caoayan-kiling in nearby San Carlos City.
But a source at the intelligence community, who asked anonymity, told this paper that a resident Nena Camacho of that village told him that she saw two females and a male disembarked from the black Innova car when they abandoned them there.
Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Pangasinan
Congressman Mark Cojuangco consult to Pangasinan
Acting Provincial Director Raymond Sterling Blanco
(extreme right) as Merlie Balolong - the widow of
slain mayor Ernesto Balolong - listen during the visit of
the duo in the wake of the former mayor.
“They transferred to a white or cream Innova they used as cover for their escape,” he told this paper.
Former Congressman Cojuangco told the media that the motive to the death of the mayor could either be political or business.
Balolong, a major businessman here, has a checkered political life.
In 2012, the police raided his house in the town proper and confiscated a cache of high-powered firearms and ammunition.
But he proved to authorities that all the firearms have corresponding licenses. In late 2013, NBI agents conducted another raid on his house after a self-confessed gunman Otto Guialaludin, who was his former bodyguard, admitted he was behind the murder of Lingayen town former Vice Mayor Ramon Arcinue and his wife Zorayda; Public Attorney Office’s lawyer Dante Untalan, and Pasibe-East school principal Herminigildo Sabangan. He said he was Balolong’s hit man. 
But Sual Mayor Roberto Arcinue, the brother of the slain vice mayor, denied in a radio interview that Balolong has a motive in the killing of the couple. 
Recovered in that raid were 21 firearms, including M-16 and M-14 rifles.
In a dramatic arrest covered by the national TV, a resisting Balolong was dragged to the vehicle by the NBI operatives who detained him in Manila. He posted a bail of P160,000 after he was initially charged with tampering with the serial numbers of the firearms.
Last year and this year Balolong had brushed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) who suspended him because of administrative charges.
In that first suspension he was blamed for his insistence to represent the town to borrow P52.4 million loans at the Philippine National Bank in Dagupan City.
But the Office of the President (O.P) lifted it only a few weeks after the beleaguered mayor filed an urgent petition to set aside the order.
The SP’s ground for the second suspension that was implemented last month was when the mayor approved the payment of P8, 441,33.59 to PNB  in August 2013 despite the rejection of the SP of the ordinance of this town’s 2013 budget appropriating an amortization of the sum to the bank.
The O.P rebuffed the provincial board anew by reversing their decision where Balolong’s 60 days prevention suspension became moot and academic because of the stay order in the first case that is still being studied by the Palace.
Balolong was closed to President Benigno Aquino III who was his employer when he worked at the Aquino-Oreta Security Agency in the late 1980s, he told this paper in an interview before.
A source said the president of the Philippines would pay his last respect at the wake of the slain mayor on June 13.
Source at the police said that around 4 Pm they arrested Eduardo S. de Guzman and Marlito R. Sarmiento at Barangay Salomague Sur, Bugallon, Pangasinan and the confiscation of one unit Motor Star black Motorcycle without plate number. 
De Guzman,65, married, farmer and a resident of Barangay Salomague Norte, Bugallon while Sarmiento, 38, married, radiator mechanic , and a resident of Brgy. Pangascasan, Bugallon, Pangasinan.
Media reports said that de Guzman had been charged with two shooting offenses were he was the alleged perpetrator. One was in Aguilar, Pangasinan in March 2011 and the other one was in April 2011 in Bugallon, Pangasinan.
The manhunt  operation was based on the description of the suspects gathered during the interview conducted by the investigators of Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Balolong from the victims and witnesses, including the previous information on the identification and escape direction of the suspects where the getaway vehicle was recovered,” Blanco said as quoted by InterAksiyom.com.
Blanco did not allow the presentation of the suspects in deference to the directive before to the police by the Human Rights Commission.
During their inquest at the prosecutor’s office in San Carlos City last June 11, both suspects would not answer question to the media about their involvement in the multiple- murder.
They are now detained at the Bureau of Jail Penology and Management in San Carlos City as they face a multiple murder and attempted murder cases - all non-bailable offenses.

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