THE reward money for information leading to the capture of the mastermind and gunmen in the killing of university president Dr. Ricardo Rotoras is now P2.5 million after the City Council allocated P500,000 on Wednesday, December 6.

City Councilor Teodulfo Lao, who recommended adding another P500,000 to the P2 million earlier pledged by Mayor Oscar Moreno and Rotoras’ brethren at the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, said he hopes the reward money will hasten the capture of the Rotoras’ murderers.

"Sana meron nang maka pinpoint kung sino ang culprit ng crime na pumatay kay Dr. Rotoras, yan ang ine-expect natin kasi malaki na [ang reward money] (We expect that there will be someone who can pinpoint the culprit of the crime of killing Dr. Rotoras since the reward money increased)," Lao said.

Rotoras, the president of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP), was shot dead by at least two men last Saturday, December 2, outside his house in a private subdivision.

Rotoras was also the president of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (Pasuc) at the time of his murder.

For Lao, Rotoras, who was said to be actively involved in various programs of the City Government, was a peace loving and accommodating person.

"He's a peace loving person. Very accommodating, pag meron kang i-request sa kanya, ina-accommodate nya. Nakikita ko yung pagtulong nya sa iba lalo na yung mga taong gustong mag aral, at naging inspirasyon sya sa iba (if request something from him, he will accommodate you. I saw him helping other people, especially those who needs education, and he became an inspiration to some)," Lao said.

Meanwhile, police investigators also on Wednesday, December 6, said the gunmen may be hired killers.

Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa II, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo), said investigators are also looking at the possibility the killers may have been hired by someone who had serious grudges against the state-run university president.

"Dili pa nato ma-confirm kung hired killers ba to sila or naay mga kasuko kay wala paman ta concrete evidence. Tanan angulo atong gitan-aw (We can't confirm and conclude if the killers are gun for hire or someone who have grudges since we don't have concrete evidence yet),"Hortillosa said.

Hortillosa stressed that for now, the police primarily aims to identify the gunmen in order to establish the motives of the killing.

He also said said the arrest of the gunmen will lead to the identification of the mastermind.

Hortillosa said the police and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Northern Mindanao (NBI-10), including other members of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) are rigorously probing the incident to get hold of concrete evidences and witnesses to put all personalities who have a hand in the killing behind bars.

Hortillosa earlier said investigators have identified at least four persons of interest who were both the killers and mastermind.

Authorities are keeping the developments of the case confidential so as not compromise the investigation.