THE police are exploring all angles to find the perpetrators behind the foiled ambush of Bacolod City Councilor Ricardo Tan and his wife, Nita, in Barangay Alangilan on December 14.
Chief Inspector Sherlock Gabana, public information officer of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), said Sunday, December 16, that they are looking into the business angle, adding that the attack by three unidentified armed men may be due to Tan's properties and other businesses.
Gabana said it can also be more personal like jealousy or envy with regards to Tan's status as a businessman.
Tan was previously linked to illegal drugs after reports circulated through text messages that there was a drug raid in his resort in August 2016, an allegation he already denied. He claimed it was a total lie, baseless, and unfounded.
He even acquired certifications from various law enforcement agencies clearing him of involvement in any illegal drug activity and stating that he has no criminal record.
In the same year, his son, Ralph Tan, filed a libel complaint before the City Prosecutor’s Office against two persons who allegedly linked his father to illegal drug activities.
The length of the issue on drugs against the city official is already over when this happened, Gabana said.
However, the BCPO will still include it in its investigation, but it cannot yet reveal all the details as the probe is still ongoing.
Gabana said they are exploring other angles to establish the motive in the attack.
The councilor did not receive any threats prior to the incident, he added.
But he said the couple was probably being monitored prior to the attack, as the Scene of the Crime Operatives recovered three cigarette butts at the place of the incident the following day.
Early Friday evening, Tan and his wife were on their way to Bacolod from Campuestohan Highland Resort, which they owned, when they were waylaid by three armed men on board a white wagon type of vehicle.
The three assailants released a rapid gunfire to the official’s vehicle, a Nissan Patrol, which hit the windshield.
The assailants left 22 bullet holes at the front part of the vehicle and another 13 at the rear. They also destroyed the glass window in the driver side.
Both victims managed to survive the rapid fire but were injured after they sustained abrasions from the broken glass window of the car.
Police recovered 24 empty shells of caliber 5.56 and seven empty shells of caliber .45 from the crime scene.
Gabana said seven additional fired bullets of M16, considered to be a high-powered firearm, were recovered from the scene the following day.
He said they still have no leads yet on the identities of the perpetrators.
Gabana said they dismissed politics as one of the angles because Tan will not run for any position in the 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation is conducting a separate investigation on the case.