Elderly farmer shot dead over land dispute

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

A 72-YEAR-OLD farmer was shot dead morning of Sept. 11, 2019 in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.

Police identified the victim as Jilcito Bacanto, who was killed near the farm he was tilling at Barangay Cabugao Norte.

Police Staff Sergeant John Derson Sabio, Sta. Barbara police investigator, said the victim came from buying corn seeds at the town proper around 8:10 a.m. of Wednesday when two gunmen waylaid him while driving his motorcycle on a farm track.

The gunman and his companion fled on a motorcycle.

Bacanto died on the scene due to gunshot injuries on the chest and left side of his body.

Sabio said an eyewitness identified the two suspects but he declined to further divulge other details.

A land dispute appeared to be the motive of the case, he added.

Bacanto worked at the farm owned by a certain Atty. del Rosario. While the two-hectare farm land is not under litigation, another is claiming ownership of the property.

Bacanto’s wife claimed that her husband was torn in between del Rosario and the other claimant.

“That’s why, I’ve been telling them that if they have issues and concerns, they should deal with Atty. del Rosario,” the wife said in the vernacular.

A day before the incident happened, the victim went to the police station to book the threat on his life.

The threat stated, “Kon sigehon ya pamanggas sang mais sa duta, may malain gid nga matabo sa iya (If he continues planting corn on the farm, something bad will happen to him).”

With the suspects already identified, police are now conducting a manhunt operation for their immediate arrest.