Barangay councilor killed in ambush; village captain hurt-A A +A
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
CEBU CITY -- A barangay captain is fighting for his life while his common-law wife died after they were ambushed by three men on a motorcycle in Toledo City, Cebu late Monday afternoon.
Alexander Alqueza, 68, was heading home with his family and neighbors when they were assaulted on the boundary of Barangay Carmen and Dumlog at 4:30 p.m.
The village chief of Captain Claudio, who is also a retired senior police officer, sustained four gunshot wounds in his back, head and left arm. He is now being closely monitored at a private hospital in Cebu City.
His live-in partner Irene Wamelda, 28, a barangay councilwoman, was killed after she was hit in her left arm, with the bullet also hitting her in the body.
Their four-year-old adopted son was left unscathed. Their neighbor and two students, who were at the back, were also safe.
Chief Inspector Michael Anthony Bastes, head of Toledo City Police Station, said they are looking into Alqueza’s work and personal life as possible motives of the ambush.
Alqueza reportedly filed this year a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against barangay treasurer Marlyn Gonzales for malversation of public funds amounting to P2.7 million.
A love triangle, Bastes said, is also being looked into after the barangay captain got separated from his wife and lived with Wamelda.
Alqueza was driving a mint green multicab (KFA-452) when the suspects, believed to be hired killers, onboard a red motorcycle drove near his vehicle.
The gunman pulled out a firearm and shot the victims. Alqueza lost control of the vehicle and almost hit it against a coconut tree.
The suspects then sped toward Barangay Canlumampao. They were seen wearing helmets and black jackets, except for the gunman seated at the middle.
Motorcycle-for-hire driver Juderick Belila, 26, who happened to pass by when the ambush took place, immediately went to the rescue.
He pulled the victims out from the vehicle. Alqueza and Wamelda were brought to Toledo District Hospital. But the councilwoman didn’t make it there alive.
For Rebecca Pardillo, 45, it was like a scene from a movie. She had hitched a ride on the motorcycle to save on fare. She was seated at the back.
“I was enjoying the ride when shots rang out,” she said. She jumped off the vehicle.
Four empty shells of .45 pistol were recovered by police at the crime scene.
Interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu, the treasurer she was implicated of forging signatures that resulted to her termination last January.
“Nagkwenta siya sa kwarta. Wa siya magkwenta nga nakuhaan ni sa pagpasweldo sa mga trabahante (She didn’t realize that salaries for workers had been subtracted from the amount),” Gonzales said. She said she has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.
Gonzales was taken by police for questioning about the shooting.
“Kung tinuod na, awa gud akong balay. Anay na lang ang nagkupot ana (If that’s true, I wouldn’t be having this dilapidated house),” Gonzales said.
She said she was shocked when her husband told her about the ambush.
“We went along well,” she said.
Gonzales said she now fears for the security of her family.
“We have nothing to do with it,” she said.
Police are looking if there are any security cameras that can help them in the investigation.
Bastes said they picked up a motorcycle yesterday that could the one used in the crime. He also believed the driver is from Toledo City because he knew the area very well.
The barangay captain, Bastes said, is being escorted by police at the hospital and monitored by doctors.
No vital organs were injured, but Alqueza received four bags of blood due to extreme bleeding.
At the Capitol, the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Cebu Provincial Police Office urged anybody with death threats to report it to them.
“If they report to us, this can prevent shootings or ambush incidents since we can provide security for them,” said PIB Chief Rodolfo Albotra.
Last month, lawyer Noel Archival was ambushed along with three others by unidentified assailants in Barangay Coron, Dalaguete.
Last February 28, a businesswoman was shot dead in Barangay Poblacion, Argao.
At the Capitol, Provincial Board Member Grecilda Sanchez said they will give assistance to the victims in the Toledo shooting.
Sanchez said she will also check with the Toledo City Government on what assistance can they give the victims.
Sanchez urged the police officials of Toledo Police Station to make a thorough investigation to resolve the case. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2014.