LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan has offered a P1-million reward to the person who can identify the killers of Mactan Barangay Councilor Zandro Augusto.
Augusto was shot outside the pawnshop he owned at the public market on Lopez Jaena St. in Barangay Poblacion by motorcycle-riding assailants on Saturday night, Sept. 19, 2020.
Chan, who condemned and described the murder as brutal, announced the bounty on his Facebook page on Sunday, Sept. 20.
“We will strongly pursue justice over his death by identifying and arresting the perpetrators and conducting trial in court against them so they can pay for the life they took,” said Chan in Cebuano.
Chan said any person who witnessed the incident can text or call in their information at 09989673794 or 09393711288.
The mayor’s move was welcomed by Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LCPO) Director Col. Clarito Baja, who said he is planning to form a special investigation task group to fast-track the inquiry.
Baja, in a phone interview on Sunday, said the LCPO Station 3 has started interviewing witnesses and checking security cameras of establishments near the crime scene.
The police official said investigators will explore several possible motives behind the attack, including personal and political.
Augusto, who was in his late 40s, had not reported any threat to the police, said Baja.
Investigators have yet to interview Augusto’s immediate relatives who are still in shock.
Baja said they had not received reports that Augusto was involved in any illegal activity.
Chan described Augusto as a hard worker, especially in the city’s efforts in slowing down coronavirus disease 2019 infections.
“He was one of the officials of the barangay who chose to be a frontliner,” Chan said on Facebook.
The mayor said he and Augusto met Saturday morning as they participated in the coastal cleanup.
Aside from a pawnshop, Augusto owned other businesses, including a cell shop and a bicycle store.
He was a member of the advisory council of the LCPO Station 2.
According to Chan, Augusto had just closed his pawnshop before the attack happened past 7 p.m. He was about to board his vehicle, when the passenger of a passing motorcycle shot him several times.
He was rushed to the Mactan Doctors’ Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
His assailants reportedly used a black and white motorcycle. The gunman stood between 5’5” to 5’6.”
Baja said they will check if Augusto was the same person linked to Mary Ann Castro, a prosecutor who was gunned down in Cebu City by motorcycle-riding assailants on Jan. 17, 2019.
In 2002, Cherry Basalo Augusto filed an administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for immorality and grave misconduct against Castro for having an affair with her husband Zandro, according to a Jan. 17, 2019 SunStar online report.
Cherry had seen her husband and Castro in a motel in Mandaue City. The two, though, denied they were having an affair.
On Oct. 3 that year, Cherry was shot dead allegedly by PO1 Clementino Dulguime Jr., who later shot himself with the same gun. The complaint against Castro did not prosper with Cherry’s death.
In December 2002, Castro announced that she “must have been born” for the businessman, who was 30 years old at the time.
They showed up in a restaurant in Barangay Busay, Cebu City on their “first date” on Dec. 3. But their relationship didn’t last long. (KAL)