The Pardo Police Station, in its initial investigation, linked the crime to illegal drug trade as the house was reportedly used as a drug den where pushers sold shabu and users sniffed the banned narcotics.
Fatalities were identified as Mark Pepito Aventurado, 16; Jake Fernandez Bas, 26; and house owner Ernie Gasalatan Sales, 39.
Pardo Police Chief Jose Angelo Acupinpin said it could be also possible that a rival group exact revenge on the victims as Bas’ group had reportedly been involved in recent shooting incidents in Inayawan.
He received reports that drug personalities who are now in jail often contacted Bas if they want to kill pushers who failed to pay their due.
The gunmen, reportedly more than five, wore bonnets to hide their faces. They surrounded the house of Sales while others went inside Sales’ house and opened fire, according to Pardo police investigator Staff Sergeant Benjamin Maglahos in an interview with radio dySS.
Sales and Aventurado died inside the house, succumbing to multiple gunshot wounds in the body.
Bas, in spite of being wounded, was able to run outside Sales’ house. He knocked on the doors of his neighbors, but no one let him in as they were afraid the assailants were following him.
Bas eventually hid inside a pigpen. The gunmen did not follow him. He then died due to loss of blood.
Police recovered 30 spent shells of yet-to-be-determined caliber inside the house of Sales and paraphernalia used in sniffing shabu.
Three firearms were recovered from the possessions of Sales and Bas.
Maglahos said Bas had been identified as the man who killed two persons in Sitio Palwa Maria, Inayawan. He was reportedly involved in some shooting incidents in the past.
Aventurado’s mother Avelina told radio dySS that her son was hooked on illegal drugs and he had acted as a courier, transporting illegal drugs to the customers of a pusher.
Avelina said she had asked help from Inayawan barangay officials to reform her son.
Aventurado was a former child in conflict with the law, but he did not mend his ways after getting out of a juvenile facility, his mother said.
Before the incident happened around 5:30 a.m., Avelina and her husband went outside their house to buy rice cakes (puto) for their pre-breakfast snacks. They later passed by their son hanging out with Sales and Bas.
Avelina told her son to go back to their home and get some sleep. Aventurado nodded. But when Avelina and her husband arrived home, their son was not in his room. The couple did not bother and ate their rice cakes.
A series of gunshots then rang out in the neighborhood.
Maglahos said several residents saw the assailants, but none of them could identify them as their faces were covered with bonnets.
The investigator said the victims’ reported links to illegal drugs could be the reason behind the early-morning assault. (KAL)