The Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation promised to work together in looking into the death of Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino in Samar, but maintained that it was the group of the slain official which fired first during the incident.
PNP Chief Gen. Debold Sinas, citing the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO-8), said it was Aquino’s team which started the gunfight with a vehicle transporting authorities from the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group and Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit. The mayor, his driver, his police security escort, and at least two other police officers in the group that clashed with Aquino’s men, died as a result of the encounter.
“According to them (PRO-8), for no apparent reason, binaril ‘yung sasakyan nila. So napilitan silang magresponde tapos yung backup ni mayor na nasa likod din pinaputukan yung pulis kaya namatay ‘yung tatlo,” Sinas said.
Sinas claimed that what transpired was a shootout and not an “ambush” as initially described by the police.
“Basing sa account nila ay ‘yung tropa ni mayor [ang nagsimula]. But just the same, mag-iimbestiga tayo para malaman natin yung puno’t dulo,” Sinas added.
According to Sinas, the reason why the authorities were in the area was to monitor potential activities of supposed members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
“Kung ikaw ang maunahan din ng baril, the action is to repel the cause,” Sinas noted.