Police identify persons of interest in killings of village chief, wife

POLICE in the northwestern town of Asturias, Cebu have identified persons who may have been involved or have knowledge in the killings of the Manguiao barangay captain and his wife last week.

However, police refused to identify the persons of interest as the investigation is not yet closed, according to Lt. Col. Mark Gifter Sucalit, deputy director for operations of the Cebu Police Provincial Office.

Sucalit said on Sunday, March 19, 2023, that Asturias police investigators have obtained closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage that can help in identifying the killers.

Manguiao Barangay Captain Mario Tundag, 57, and his wife Edna, 47, were riding a motorcycle when they were shot multiple times by riding-in-tandem assailants in front of Poblacion Central Elementary School in Asturias on March 14.

Meanwhile, a Facebook post has accused the police of illegally arresting a man in Sitio Guinabasan, Barangay Tubigagmanok, which is located in the mountainous part of Asturias, around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15.

The accuser, Elpidio Benjamin Noel, said the police barged inside the house of Lemuel “Tata” Tundag Aguanta without a warrant of arrest or search warrant.

However, Sucalit said Aguanta was arrested due to an illegal possession of firearms case and not in connection with the killing of the Tundag couple.

A .45 pistol and a 9mm pistol, including ammunition, were seized from Aguanta after he failed to show a license for their use.

Despite Sucalit’s clarification, though, CPPO Director Col. Rommel Ochave has ordered an investigation into the social media allegation.

Ochave emphasized that illegal activities will not be tolerated among police personnel. (AYB / KAL)