Nalzaro: Who masterminded Imok’s murder?

POLICE investigators initially theorized that the ambush-slay of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta was perpetrated by professional guns-for-hire based on the manner it was executed. Rupinta, a controversial village chief, was ambushed by four men riding in two motorcycles Thursday night in a secluded place in Barangay Tayud, Liloan while going to his residence in Eastland Subdivision in Barangay San Vicente also in Liloan. He was with his common-law-wife, Jocelyn Mendoza, on board a pick-up vehicle. Imok was declared dead on arrival at the Mendero Medical Center in nearby Consolacion town.

Since professionals did it, somebody must have masterminded the crime. Who was Imok? Did the murder have something to do with his work as a barangay captain? Is politics behind it? Did his being a leader of a group of ambulant vendors in the city cause it? Whose side was he in the illegal drug trade issue? Was he a drug protector or a crusader against illegal drugs?

Rupinta was involved in recent controversies. He and the entire barangay council were suspended for three months by the Ombudsman for their failure to cooperate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in its anti-illegal drugs operation. Some ambulant vendors are against him claiming he harassed them and barred them from displaying their wares at the Carbon market premises when they refused to pay the daily fees (“arkabala”). Barangay tanods also allegedly threatened them with violence when they defied Rupinta’s order. He was also criticized for defending his barangay tanod who killed a detainee.

Recently, he engaged the “former political has-been” in a verbal tussle when latter ordered the demolition of tanod outposts in his barangay.

Rupinta’s allies, especially “has-been” mayor Michael Rama, said the killing of Imok had something to do with politics. Here comes Rama again jumping to conclusions without presenting valid proof.

When we talk of politics as the motive, we can list Imok’s political enemies. Who are they? First, his possible opponent for barangay captain in next year’s elections. Second, the man on top of City Hall whom he was always at loggerheads with on various issues. Come on, Mike. You just want to paint something negative on the face of your political rival.

Was Imok a drug protector or is he a crusader against illegal drugs? His non-cooperation with PDEA agents during a raid created suspicions on his sincerity to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in his jurisdiction. He only became active in the campaign recently by posting “drug-free” stickers on drug-free residences. Nganong karon ra man siya nag-agresibo batok sa drugas? You know, those involved in the illegal drug trade are syndicates who are willing to kill anybody that crosses their path. Was he a “double agent”? Just asking.

Instead of speculating, why don’t we just wait for the results of the investigation? Let the police do their work first before we conclude.
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