Councilors murder a retaliatory attack

Jolomar Hilario / Facebook

THE Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 condemned the ruthless killing of an elected town official of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.

Police Brigadier General John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, also confirmed that members of the New People’s Army killed Sangguniang Bayan member Jolomar Hilario.

“If the NPAs could do this to SB Hilario, they could do this to other politicians, too,” Bulalacao said.

He said that a task group will be created to speed up the investigation.

But Bulalacao said they have yet to come up with a motive why Hilario became the NPA’s target.

The slain SB member was a known ally of Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña.

A few days ago, it was reported that Peña was instrumental in the arrest of former priest turned National Democratic peace consultant Francisco “Frank” Fernandez.

It can be noted that Fernandez, 71, also a spokesman of NDF-Negros, was arrested with his 66-year-old wife, Cleofe Lagtapon, alleged deputy regional secretary of education of the Komite Rehiyon-Negros Cebu Bohol Siquijor (KR-NCBS); and Gee-ann Perez, 20, a regional communications staff of KR-NCBS, were arrested March 24, in Barangay Calumpang, Liliw, Laguna.

The Army in Negros Occidental had said that Hilario’s death is retaliation by the rebels for Fernandez’s arrest.

“Our profiling on the victim continues,” Bulalacao said adding there could be other motives behind the incident.

But police investigators learned that Hilario had been receiving threats a few weeks back before he was killed, although he did not report the threats to the PNP.

When asked if there are other politicians who have been receiving threats from the rebel groups, Bulalacao said most of them asked for police security.

For now, the region’s top cop said the PRO-6 will double its efforts to ensure security of everyone as election nears.

“In case they received threats, I hope they would bring the information to us,” Bulalacao said.

He also ordered PNP mobile forces to double the efforts in hunting down the terrorists.

Hilario was killed by suspected NPA rebels inside his house at Barangay Inolingan, Moises Padilla town, morning of March 31, 2019.

Around 50 armed persons onboard a truck entered the victim’s house while he was sleeping. They identified themselves as NPAs before shooting the victim, who succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds.

Witnesses said the suspects came from the mountainous boundary of Moises Padilla and Guihulngan, Negros Oriental. They commandeered a truck in the sugarcane plantation and used it in reaching Hilario’s house. 

Government troops were not able to respond immediately due to roadblocks placed by the rebels.

The victim was declared dead at Enrico Roa Elumba Clinic at around 7:00 a.m. Sunday.