THE fatal shooting of Ciriaco Salazar, 49, in Sitio Tigbao, Barangay Talamban, Cebu City last Thursday night has called attention to the risks government officials in the

public works department sometimes face.

Police will examine the nature of tasks Salazar performed, including his work a member of the bids and awards committee of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 fourth engineering district. He was also section chief of the district’s maintenance division.

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Cebu City Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador said they are not discounting the possibility the killers were hired assassins.

“We are also looking into his lifestyle, but I heard he didn’t have any vices,” he told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview.

Salazar and his wife Dolores were on their way home to Villa del Rio I in Barangay Bacayan when a motorcycle, carrying two men, drove up to the driver’s side of the victim’s vehicle.

The passenger fired at Salazar repeatedly. Salazar’s wife was unharmed.

Homicide investigators recovered three empty shells from a .45 pistol on the road and one slug inside the car.

A man who lives near the scene said he heard three gunshots. He also heard a woman shout for help.

“Nagtuo gani ko sa sud nagpunisilay. Ang patay among gipada sa ospital (I thought they were shooting one another inside. We helped bring the victim to the hospital),” he said in a CCTN report.

A DPWH said their jobs are “prone” to death threats.

Engr. James Dellosa of the DPWH third engineering district admitted yesterday that when he first took the reins of his office, he received numerous death threats.

He did not take the threats lightly and, being a practical shooter, worked on his shooting skills regularly.

Dellosa, a former DPWH assistant regional director, said Salazar may have met some threats while doing his job. Government engineers are prone to such hazards, especially in areas where “trouble” with residents is expected to ensue.

Nestor Sator, PNP Crime Laboratory 7 medico-legal officer, said one of the bullets hit Salazar’s left arm, left lung and his heart before it got lodged in his right lung.

Another bullet went through his left armpit and left lung before settling in his spinal column.

Before the incident, Comendador ordered the Mobile Patrol Group to focus on motorcycles carrying passengers.

“Gipa-intensify nako ang pagtan-aw sa motorcycle nga naay duha ang sakay (I gave orders that they should observe motorcycles that have two riders),” he said.

Comendador said Salazar was the first DPWH worker to be shot to death in Cebu City.

He asked business owners, politicians and government officials to immediately ask for police security if they receive threats. He also suggested changing their daily routines and routes, to throw off anyone who may be observing them.

Former vice mayor Doroteo Salazar said Ciriaco was his nephew, being the son of his first cousin.

Although he was not sure if the family will go to court, he said he will support them. “I can’t preempt them on their plan.

Whatever action they take, mo-suporta ko nila,” Doroteo told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview.

Christopher Tampus, who used to work in Salazar’s office, said the slain DPWH engineer was a good man with no enemies.

Salazar’s neighbors were saddened by the DPWH engineer’s death.

In an ABS-CBN TV Patrol Central Visayas report yesterday, Rosario Aquino, a neighbor of the Salazars, said the slain DPWH official and his wife, Dolores, were good people who had smooth relations with the community.

She said they rarely saw the DPWH official as he was always at work. (KAL/JKV/With RSA)