AT LEAST P2.5 million worth of properties went up in smoke when gunmen set ablaze four houses and a rest house of a former town mayor in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, the police reported Sunday.
Zamboanga Peninsula police information officer Ariel Huesca said the incident took place around 10 p.m. Friday at Purok Nandang in Barangay Noburan, Labangan town.
He identified the owners of the houses that were intentionally burned as Remedios Surdilla, Jaime Lumusad, Mary Jean Banagan, and Florencia Cotongan.
Huesca said the burned rest house belongs to Wilson "Kitty" Nandang, the former mayor of Labangan.
The burning incident took place barely an hour and 15 minutes after Victor Galgan, caretaker of Nandang's house, shot Joy Ponce. The caretaker’s primary target was Ponce’s husband.
Ponce was reportedly sleeping at her residence in Purok Centro, Barangay Noburan when Galgan barged in around 8:45 p.m. Friday. Galgan turned his ire to Ponce and shot her with a caliber .45 pistol after he failed to locate the victim's husband.
After the shooting incident, investigation showed that neighbors saw several gunmen at Purok Nandang.
An hour after, Huesca said a fire of unknown origin broke out at Surdilla's residence and rapidly spread to the other houses. No one among the houses' owners were either killed or injured since they were not around during the incident.
Investigation continues, Huesca said.