Drugs, politics, business viewed as possible motives

WHILE Central Visayas’ top cop has confirmed that the name of slain Ginatilan, Cebu Councilor Maria Liza Toledo came up in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug matrix, he has ordered investigators to also look at other angles to the killing including politics and business.

Police Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, head of the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7), said they were looking into various angles behind Toledo’s killing, aside from her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

Toledo, a first term councilor, was gunned down by an unidentified assailant just outside the town hall after coming from their regular session on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

“I think she was listed because maybe of her association with her boyfriend. I think she is number 1 in the (drug) list,” Ferro told reporters on Thursday, March 12.

Toledo’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade has been linked to suspected drug lord Norbert Antiquando, identified as her former live-in partner.

Antiquando is currently detained at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) after he and three others were convicted of killing a Japanese national in 2001.

But aside from being a town councilor, Toledo was also a rice retailer at the Abuyog Penal Colony in Leyte Province.

Ferro said he ordered investigators to check if other businessmen had conflicts with Toledo over her rice retailing business as she was said to have monopolized the sale of rice within the prison facility.

Antiquando was previously detained at the penal colony where Toledo was retailing rice, Ferro said.

They are also looking into a possible political angle behind the murder after they learned that Toledo sued a relative who was running for an elective post in Ginatilan.

“We are still looking into politics because as we know there is heated political rivalry with other political groups in their area. So we are not discounting politics,” he added in a mix of Cebuano, Tagalog and English.

Ferro said the PRO 7 will be coordinating with the National Capital Region Police Office to help secure information from Antiquando at the NBP.

Meanwhile, Police Col. Roderick Mariano, head of the Cebu Police Provincial Office, said he has ordered a probe on all possible angles relating to Toledo’s killing.

Mariano also ordered Ginatilan police chief Police Lt. Lito Tadique to include Toledo’s errand boy, Yuri Singco, in their investigation.

Singco was with Toledo when she was gunned down.

They are also examining video from the town hall’s closed- circuit television (CCTV) to check on the vehicle used by the unidentified assailant before shooting Toledo.

CCTV footage of the incident showed Toledo walking outside the town hall with Singco when she suddenly collapsed after being shot by an unidentified assailant not seen in the camera.

Forensic doctors found a single gunshot wound on Toledo’s back which went through her chest, suggesting that she may have been shot from afar.

A special investigation task group will be formed to investigate the killing, Mariano said. (AYB / JKV)


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