SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union: Officers and members of the Citizens Movement Against Corruption, Crime, Illegal Drugs and Gambling Inc. on Friday released a list of 44 unsolved shootings and killings of public officials and ordinary citizens by motorcycle-riding gunmen in the four provinces of Region 1 (Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan) during the first and second quarters of the year.
In an interview with The Manila Times, the head of the nationwide group said for the month of July there were eight unsolved shootings and killings reported in Region 1, five of which were recorded in Pangasinan, one in La Union and two in Ilocos Sur, citing as his basis the police blotter and the result of their interview with the families of the victims who are seeking justice.
Professor Salvador Singson-de Guzman, however, said their group has no intention to destroy the credibility of the police in their effort to solve the cases because their only purpose in exposing this issue before the public is to bring the matter to the attention of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.
“We are not forcing the PNP chief to investigate this matter but it is up to him if he will act to address this issue and to help the families of the victims in seeking swift justice for them,” De Guzman added.
From January to July 30, 2021, he said, Pangasinan posted the highest number of unsolved murders with 28 followed by Ilocos Sur with 11, La Union with three and Ilocos Norte with two.
The latest unsolved killing in Ilocos Sur is the shooting to death of Tirzo Rin, chief of barangay tanod (village watchmen) of Suksukin in Sto. Domingo town on July 19.
Rin and his companion identified only as “Toks”, also a barangay tanod, were on board a motorcycle when they were shot at by several unidentified gunmen on board a car without a license plate.
In Pangasinan, still unsolved are the murders of two barangay kagawad (village councilmen), a barangay tanod and two punong barangay (barangay captains); two village councilmen in Ilocos Sur; and a barangay tanod in La Union.
The latest unsolved killing in Pangasinan is that of Mariel Sibolboro, an employee of the Dagupan City Water District who was allegedly robbed and shot dead by still unidentified gunmen in Barangay Lucao in Dagupan City on July 16.
On July 14, barangay chief Frederick Abalos of Barangay Balococ in Lingayen town was gunned down by two unidentified motorcycle-riding men.
The victim was aboard a tricycle on his way home at about 11:35 p.m. when the gunmen blocked his way and then shot Abalos several times.
Also, among the still unsolved shootings and killings in Pangasinan is that of Leo Macaraeg, a 78-year-old owner of a housing subdivision and resident of Barangay Roxas Boulevard in San Carlos City.
Macaraeg was shot dead by two unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen while jogging inside the subdivision about 300 meters away from his house at about 6:30 a.m. on January 1.
Leopoldo Torres, a farmer from Bautista town, was gunned down on January 4.
On February 2, Mark Mesa-Dee, a 45-year-old security guard and a resident of Barangay Bantog in Asingan town, was shot dead by two unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen while driving his motorcycle and traveling along the national road of Barangay San Felipe Sur in Binalonan town.
On February 6, Wilson Lamsen, a businessman from Barangay Nalsian Norte, was robbed and shot dead by still unknown gunmen along the barangay road of Waig in Malasiqui town.
On February 9, Cpl. Reynald Reyes, assigned at the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera Administrative Region, was gunned down by still unidentified gunmen along the national road of Paitan Sur in Sual, Pangasinan.
On February 16, Reynaldo Bugayong, head of the Public Order and Safety Office of Calasiao town and one of the political leaders of Gov. Amado Espino 3rd, was shot dead by two still unidentified gunmen onboard a motorcycle while driving his motorcycle along the national road of Barangay Lasip.
On February 26, Alpha Frias-Cayabyab, a 35-year-old businesswoman, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Barangay Sangcagules in Bayambang town.
On March 2, Rodrigo Placheta, a village councilman of Longos in San Fabian town, was shot dead by two gunmen aboard a motorcycle while on March 18, Felix Quinones of Barangay Calvo was also gunned down by motorcycle-riding suspects.
On April 5, Francisca and her daughter Demetria Peralta, both of Barangay Patayac in Sta. Barbara town, were shot dead by two motorcycle-riding gunmen along the national bypass road in Barangay Nancayasan, Urdaneta City.
On April 12, a student was shot dead by still unidentified motorcycle-riding suspects while on his way home along the road in Barangay Antipangol in San Carlos City while three relatives in Umingan town were killed in an ambush by unidentified men.
Imelda Camba. a businesswoman and owner of a popular resort in Bolinao town, was also shot dead by two motorcycle-riding gunmen on April 23.
On May 6, Aurora Peralta, 85 years old and who lived alone in her house in Barangay Bacnar, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman.
It was learned the victim was suspected to be a mangkukulam (witch).
On May 10, Jose Penuliar, a seafarer from Barangay Maasin in Mangaldan town, was shot dead by still unidentified gunmen while on May 16, Wilfredo Cuison and Francisca Eden, both from Barangay Guesang and engaged in lending business, were robbed and killed by still unidentified suspects.
On May 24, Gerald Ferrer, a balut (boiled duck egg) vendor, was robbed and shot dead by still unidentified robbers in Urdaneta City.
On June 17, Rodlfo Basanes, a pandesal (salt bread) vendor, was also robbed and shot dead by still unidentified robbers in Barangay Malabago in Calasiao town.
On June 21, Rolando Ebreo, a former barangay tanod of San Aurelio in Balungao town, was shot dead by still unidentified gunmen while Rogelio de Luna was also shot dead by two motorcycle-riding suspects in Barangay Polong Norte in Malasiqui town.
On July 1, Eduardo Morante, an employee of Peryahan ng Bayan, was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding gunmen.
On July 3, Eliseo Eslao Jr., 54 years old and village chairman of Talogtog in Laoac town was ambushed and killed by still unidentified gunmen in the subdivision where he lives.
Eslao was aboard a motorcycle driven by his son Mark Laurence when the suspects who were waiting for their arrival along the road shot them several times using high powered firearms.
His son was unhurt.
On July 7, Remegio Servando, a village councilman of Tampac in Aguilar town, was also shot dead by unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen along the national road of Barangay Pogomboa.
The victim was driving his tricycle at the time of the incident.
Contrary to this report, however, the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office said they had resolved 45 shootings and killings in the province recorded from January to July 5 this year.
Maj. Arturo Melchor Jr., provincial information officer of the PNP, said there were 57 shootings in the province during the period.
“In 79 percent of the (57) shootings, the suspects were either arrested or identified and cases were filed. The remaining percentage of the incidents is still under investigation and [police] stations concerned were directed to focus on solving these incidents,” he also said.
Melchor added they have raised visibility in crime-prone areas, coordinating with barangay leaders and tap advocacy groups in their crime prevention campaign.