50 cops to probe mayor’s slay case

CAMP JUAN, Laoag City, June 6– About 50 investigators and intelligence officers of high caliber were tasked to probe the June 3 brutal killing of Marcos (Ilocos Norte) Mayor Arsenio Agustin and a bulldozer operator, a report said.

Beat reporters covering this camp learned that the chosen 50 investigators and intelligence officers who composed the Special Investigation Task Group assigned to probe the Agustin murder case came from the regional office of the Philippine National Police at Camp Oscar Florendo, San Fernando City, La Union and those from the Ilocos Norte police provincial office here.

So far, at least 20 witnesses would be invited but problem crops up as some of them may decline for fear of reprisal, police officials hinted.

“Alam ko meron pang mga would-be witnesses dyan na hindi pa lumalapit sa atin at unwilling pa na mag shell out ng mga information because of fear,” said Senior Supt. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr., police provincial director of Ilocos Norte.

The investigation, he said, is painstaking, it varies in the time frame of its solution, for example, it’s easy to solve the case if it’s a simple drudge but if it involves guns for hire and well-known personalities, of course, well planned, so it’s difficult for us to gather evidence.

Initial investigation showed that Mayor Agustin was inspecting a dam project in Brgy. Mabuti, Marcos town at 11:40 a.m. Saturday, June 3 when gunmen waited for him at the site and fatally shot him with an assault rifle.

Rusmar Valencia, a bulldozer operator, tried to aid the mayor at the height of the shooting when he, too, was fatally hit, an eyewitness told reporters.

Two laborers at the project site were slightly wounded by stray bullets.

The mayor’s police bodyguard fired at the suspects to cover Agustin from the triggerman’s volley of gunfire but it proved futile until the assailants quickly escaped to unknown direction, the eyewitness added.

Chief Inspector Dexter Corpuz, INPPO spokesman, told reporters that the investigators found five empty shells of bullets for M16 Armalite rifle, a raincoat, sack, an empty water bottle, soft drink bottle, and biscuits at the place where the assailants hid and positioned themselves during the shooting.

“The triggerman acted sniping as all his shots hit his target,” Major Corpuz added.(Tri-media report)