BUTUAN CITY -- A judge known for his hard stance on illegal drugs was ambushed and critically wounded Friday, September 23, after armed men on board a gray Mitsubishi Montero Sport opened fire on his vehicle with assault rifles and pistols.
Judge Hector Salise, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court 7 in Bayugan City, was on board a government-owned red Toyota Innova driven by his policeman bodyguard when they were fired upon, hitting Salise in the head.
The ambush occurred around 7 a.m. when Salise’s vehicle was traversing the diversion road in Barangay Lemon, Butuan City.
Salise’s bodyguard, identified as Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Edmund Narvasa of the Provincial Police Office of Surigao del Sur, was able to fire back at the suspects, Inspector Ronelo Dormitorio, deputy chief of police station 4 of the Butuan City Police Office (BCPO), said.
It is unclear, however, if Narvasa was able to hit any of the suspects, Dormitorio said.
“Our investigation suggest SPO1 Narvasa, who was already wounded on the left lower back, immediately responded and fired back at the assailant, breaking the window of their vehicle in the process,” Dormitorio said.
A policeman on the scene who asked not to be named said Narvasa, despite his wounds, was able to drive away from the scene.
Narvasa drove with a flat tire on the rear left of the vehicle from the scene of the incident in Purok 3, Barangay Lemon to a police composite checkpoint to ask for help.
The personnel of the police checkpoint immediately brought the judge and his bodyguard to MJ Santos Hospital.
Police Senior Inspector Charity Galvez, public information officer of the Caraga Regional Police Office 13, said police was also able to recover a CCTV footage outside the house of the judge showing the Montero waiting for and tailing Salise’s Innova.
Galvez said Narvasa told investigators that he noticed four people inside the Montero who later fired at them using M-16 assault rifles and a caliber .45 pistol.
Galvez said Salise is still in critical condition at the hospital and has undergone surgery while Narvasa has been declared by physicians as out of danger.
Galvez said task force has been created to secure the judge and his family and to immediately conduct an investigation on the attack.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 24, 2016.