A SUPPORTER of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza was shot dead yesterday dawn, allegedly by a group of leaders from an opposing camp.
Nicasio Sumalinao Pogoy, 30, a fisherman, suffered a gunshot wound in the head after at least five men, some of whom worked for a barangay, fired shots at the group Nicasio was with.
The assault took place in the island barangay of Pangan-an, a 30-minute boat ride from Lapu-Lapu mainland, about 3 a.m.
A spokesperson for Radaza told reporters they are worried some groups are creating scenarios so that Lapu-Lapu City will be placed under the control of the Commission on Elections this May.
However, a police investigator who interviewed the witnesses could not say politics was involved in the killing.
Nicasio was with Tanny Caballa, 26, Benigno Caballa, 23, and Ernesto Orongcol, 29. They just came from Sitio Tungasan where they attended a benefit dance.
Full moon illuminates guns
Tanny, interviewed at the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, claimed that past 11 p.m. Friday, the dance was cut short because they were inside. Because no other reason was given, they decided to go home to Sitio Bonbon.
While they were walking home, Tanny alleged that a group composed of Arnulfo “Roque” Pogoy, Jerry Nanoy, Joselito Mellino, Jonas Pogoy and Benigno Menguito went after them and began beating them up.
Tanny said some of them were armed. Though there were no street lights there, a full moon allowed them to see clearly that their attackers had guns with them.
Three shots were soon fired and then Nicasio, who was standing right next to Tanny, fell to the ground at the third shot.
He then said Arnulfo uttered words against him.
“Hagbay ra kong nagdumot (I’ve had this grudge for too long),” Tanny quoted him as saying.
Asked if Nicasio had a standing grudge with Arnulfo, Tanny and Nicasio’s wife Catalina said he did not.
However, Tanny admitted he was embroiled in a frustrated homicide case against Arnulfo last year.
This led Lapu-Lapu City Police investigator SPO1 Jack Inihao to believe a political angle is unlikely.
“Sa iyang mga pamahayag, posible gyud nga personal kay duna sila’y panagbangi pag 2009 (It’s possible this is personal, because they fought last year),” Inihao told reporters.
Catalina also said her husband did not have any enemies in the island.
She admitted Nicasio was an active supporter of Mayor Radaza.
“Kung naa’y pabuhat si mayor, mutabang gyud na siya (When the mayor had something for him to do, he was always willing to help),” Catalina explained.
Tanny, though, pointed out that Arnulfo and his companions were supporters of Radaza’s rival, Councilor Junard “Ahong” Chan.
They added that Nanoy works with the lupong tagapamayapa (a mediation system based in the barangay), while Menguito is the chief tanod and Mellino is a tanod who works under him.
Nestor Ymbong, spokesperson for Radaza and the Deretso Party, said they called for a press conference because they needed to make a statement about the killing.
He said there are groups in Lapu-Lapu City who “are trying to create a pattern” by making it appear there is violence in the city, so it will be placed under Comelec control.
Ymbong said they will wait for the results of the investigation of the Lapu-Lapu City Police before they can say it was politically motivated.
He said there is no need to place the city under Comelec control.
“Pila na ka election ang niagi. Wa gyu’y mahitabo diri (So many elections have shown nothing violent ever happens here),” he said.
Ymbong said Nicasio was one of their active supporters who spoke to members of the barangay.
“We condemn this unlawful act. Gusto gyud mi nga mahatagan ug hustisya (We demand justice),” Ymbong told reporters.
He fears the shooting will “greatly affect” their operations there because supporters might be too afraid to come out for their meetings.
He assured that Radaza will provide some assistance for Nicasio’s family.