4 village officials killed in shooting spree

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Monday, March 7, 2011


A FORMER barangay chief reportedly killed four village officials and wounded three others in Silay City in Negros Occidental province Sunday morning.

Based on police reports, Noel Ayalin, 48, the former chief of Barangay Kapitan Ramon, reportedly stormed into the barangay session hall where the incumbent officials were about to start their session and opened fire using his .45 caliber pistol.

Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Noppo) Director Allan Guisihan identified the fatalities as barangay councilors Pedrito Orocio, 52; Luzviminda Cotamen, 45; Freddie Juno, 58; and youth council chairwoman Aimee Occena, 16, single.

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Silay Police officer-in-charge Jesus Mesahon, Jr., who led the investigation at the crime scene, said Orocio succumbed to gunshot wounds in his head and thigh, while Juno died from gunshot wounds in his lower neck, left shoulder and thigh.

Cotamen and Occena both perished from a lone gunshot wound in their heads.

The four victims were declared dead on arrival at Silay City’s Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital.

Newly elected village chairman Ramon Celebre, 45, suffered a lone gunshot wound in his chest; councilor Salvacion Corugda, 42, sustained multiple gunshot wounds in her left hand, left lower jaw and left upper abdomen; and treasurer Lenny Llorca, 34, was shot in her left and right buttocks.

They were brought to a hospital in Bacolod City and were reported to be in critical condition as of Monday.

Village councilor Noli Flores, half brother of Ayalin, managed to escape by jumping off the slope near the session hall.

Councilor Noel Istanislao and the village secretary were fortunate that Celebre sent them to fetch some documents. Thus, they were not around when the atrocity took place and, when they returned, they were shocked by what they saw.

The barangay officials did not expect that Ayalin was armed because he was wearing a brown jacket to hide his firearm.

After his shooting spree, Ayalin reportedly fled on board his red Honda motorcycle around noon time near the Imbang River in Hda. Culahao, Barangay E. Lopez also in Silay City.

Further investigation revealed that Ayalin was angry when the release of his terminal leave pay was held in abeyance by the barangay council, pending his proper accounting of barangay funds during his incumbency.

Silay City Administrator Ignacio Slamingo said Mayor Jose Montelibano ordered the immediate arrest of Ayalin, who served as village chief of Kapitan Ramon for one term.

Salmingo added Ayalin has no previous criminal records prior to the incident.

Meanwhile, Guisihan formed Task Group Ayalin led by Police Superintendent Armando Tubongbanua, together with Mesahon, the operatives of Mobile Group Battalion, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), to conduct manhunt operations against the suspect whom Guisihan believes is still in Silay City.

Guisihan also ordered all the police station chiefs in the province of Negros Occidental to be in full alert and to conduct checkpoint operations to arrest the suspect.

“It’s already partially solved since we now know the identity of the suspect,” he said.

Guisihan added the families of the victims are now also hunting the family of the suspect to avenge the killings and shootings.

Some of the victims are also relatives of Ayalin.

Since the victims’ families cannot get hold of Ayalin, they vented their anger on his house, which is now partially damaged.

Due to the tension in the locality, Guisihan said that police also secured Barangay Kapitan Ramon to maintain peace and avoid any untoward incident while they are conducting manhunt operations against Ayalin.

The immediate family members of Ayalin are nowhere to be found after the incident.

Ayalin’s seemingly seamless escape and his family’s absence led investigators to believe that the suspect planned the crime beforehand. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla and Merlinda A. Pedrosa)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 07, 2011.

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