ILIGAN CITY (Updated) -- A 31-year-old "doctor to the barrios" was fatally shot by still unidentified men as he was going home from a medical mission Wednesday evening, March 1.
Dr. Dreyfuss Bolivar Perlas, the municipal health officer of Sapad town, Lanao del Norte, died after he was shot at the back around 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1.
Perlas, a native of Batan, Aklan, was on his way on board his motorcycle to his rented house in Kapatagan town when the incident happened along the national highway in Purok 4, Maranding, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte.
Investigators said eyewitnesses said initially thought Perlas was having a heart attack after he fell down from his motorcycle.
The chief of Kapatagan police, Police Senior Inspector Melvin Loquinte, said Perlas was tailed by the motorcycle-riding gunman or gunmen armed with a .45 caliber pistol.
The Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) recovered from the crime scene an empty shell of a caliber .45 and Perlas’ blue motorcycle with plate number KA 98877.
"Abi sa mga tawo gi-atake sa hypertension. Peru pag verifiy sa lawas nga ga buy-od sa dalan na ilhan dayon nga si Dr. Perlas ug gi dala sa Kapatagn Provincial Hospital ( Eyewitnesses thought the victim was having a hypertension attack. People discovered that the man was Dr. Perlas upon closer inspection and subsequently brought him to the Kapatagan Provincial Hospital),” Loquinte said.
Loquinte said they have yet to determine the motive of the crime.
He said Dr. Perlas had been serving as a municipal health officer of Sapad town since 2013.
Sapad is about 18 kilometers south of Kapatagan.
"He was a good man and a dedicated health officer," Loquinte said.
An officer of the Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion, 1Lt. Marloue Decin, said Dr. Perlas took part on February 28 in a One-Stop-Shop Medical Mission in the interior village of Karkum, along with other local officials and military and police personnel.
"He was a great loss for us and the medical team of the province who served and attended to the health needs of the Muslim and Christian community in Sapad," Decin said.
Decin said Dr. Perlas was once a medical retainer of the 35th IB before the battalion was transferred to Jolo,Sulu.
Dr. Charles Marquez, municipal health officer of Maigo, Lanao del Norte and a friend of Dr. Perlas, said the murdered doctor earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2006 at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos and finished his medical school at West Visayas State University in year 2011.
Dr. Perlas also acquired a Master’s degree in Public Management-Health Systems Development from the Development Academy of the Philippines.
He started serving in Sapad on October 2011, a few months after his graduation.
"Mag-5 years na unta siya karong October. Nagsugod siya as DTTB doctor dayun na-absorb as Municipal Health Officer kay nindot man ang iyang performance [This October would have been his 5th year. He started as a (Doctor to the Barriors) DDTB doctor but was absorbed as a municipal health officer because of good performance],” Lucky Ayuda, a nurse in Sapad who was also among Dr. Perlas’ friends.
“Dagha'ng mga nindot nga changes ug good nga development sa Sapad pagka-MHO niya. Daku kaayo siya nga kawad-on kay buotan kaayo to nga tawo. Wala mi nadunggan nga duna siya'y death threat busa maglisod mi og huna-huna kung unsay motibo sa pagpatay sa iyaha (There were many good changes and development in Sapad after he took over as MHO. He is a big loss because he was such a good man. We do not know of anybody who would have reason to hurt him as there was no death threat that we know of), " Ayuda added.
Several posts about Perlas' death circulated on social media, with some calling for "Justice for Drey."