Village chief bet in Pangasinan town shot dead

More police operatives have been deployed to identify and arrest the suspect behind the shooting of a village chief candidate in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Barangay Bayaoas, Aguilar town. In a phone interview by the Philippine News Agency on Monday, Aguilar police investigator Master Sgt. Reynante Abril said victim, Arnel Flormata, a contender for the barangay captain, was employed as an administrative supervisor at Aboitiz Solar Services. 'The incident happened at around 11:35 p.m. Sunday (Oct.22). The victim had just finished his miting de avance (campaign sortie) and was walking back to his parked car when the unidentified suspect, who allegedly pretended to be asking for alcoholic beverage from the victim, walked alongside him. When he got the opportunity (the suspect), shot the victim in the head once and fled immediately after,' Abril said. The suspect reportedly fled the crime scene using a tricycle with an alleged accomplice. Flormata was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival, Abril added. Authorities found a fired cartridge and one live ammunition of a cal. 45 pistol at the crime scene. Meanwhile, Commission on Elections Pangasinan provincial election supervisor lawyer Marino Salas said 'the investigation is ongoing and whatever the result will be discussed in the next Provincial Joint Security Coordination Council Meeting.' 'The village might be included under the areas of concern category if it is established as election-related,' Salas said, noting that a thorough investigation should be initially launched. Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) director Col. Jeff Fanged, in his speech during the flag raising ceremony, directed the authorities to identify the shooter and the mastermind behind the incident. 'It is an isolated incident but would like to assure the public that we will go after the culprit. I will take it personally, the PPPO will take it personally. We will bring the battle in the front whoever the mastermind is and we will not leave any stones unturned,' he said. PPPO public relations officer Capt. Renante dela Cruz said they are looking at all angles and possible motives including the personal life of the victim to determine if the shooting was election-related or work-related, among others. 'Huwag matakot ang mga tao at andito ang kapulisan para mapanatili ang peace and order kasama ng iba pang national government agencies (We urged the public not be to be afraid since the police are here to ensure peace and order, together with other national government agencies),' he said. Pangasinan police is in heightened alert and maximum deployment since the start of the campaign period.

Source: Philippines News Agency