(UPDATED) -- The village chief of Barangay Ermita, Cebu City, was killed in an ambush in Liloan town, northern Cebu, on Thursday night, November 23.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor for police matters, said in his Facebook post that Felicisimo "Imok" Rupinta was declared dead at 9:33 p.m., Thursday.
Tumulak said Rupinta was on his way to Cebu City, when two motorcycles blocked the village chief's car and opened fire at Sitio Simborio, Tayud, in Liloan.
According to initial reports from the Liloan Police Station, at 8:12 p.m., Rupinta was driving his Isuzu pick-up (YGB 554) with his wife, Jocelyn Mendoza, when four men on board two motorcycles started shooting at them.
Rupinta was hit twice in the head. The wife was unhurt.
He was rushed to the Mendero Medical Center but was declared dead at 9:33 p.m.
In a dySS report, Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) chief Supt. Joie Yape said they believe that the gunmen tailed Rupinta from Cebu City.
Supt. Melbert Glade Esguerra, the town police chief, said they are gathering witnesses.
Checkpoints were also set up in an effort to intercept the fleeing gunmen during a hot pursuit.
Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Joel Doria said that all police stations and units were also alerted and directed to conduct dragnet operations for the apprehension of the assailants.
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, City Councilors Dave Tumulak, Joel Garganera and Pastor Alcover and other Team Rama allies rushed to Mendero Medical Center in Consolacion after learning about the ambush.
The Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), for its part, condemned the killing of their colleague. “I’m so enraged. We just lost a man of the masses. We demand justice and I’m hoping and praying that the perpetrators be brought to justice,” ABC president Philip Zafra said in a text message to SunStar Cebu.
He suspects the killing has something to do with Rupinta’s efforts to clean up Ermita. “I presume it has something to do with drugs. He spearheaded the campaign against drugs without any letup,” he told radio dySS last night. Zafra said it is also public knowledge that Rupinta had political enemies.
Recently, Rupinta had a row with some Carbon market vendors over the collection of fees and his order to have some fish vendors move out of the market area. Their barangay outposts were demolished by City Hall following the vendors’ complaints. (JOB, RTF, LRC, SunStar Philippines)