Barangay chairman Merencillo Lebario of Dagum joined the growing list of village leaders of Calbayog being killed summarily. (photo courtesy)
Barangay chairman Merencillo Lebario of Dagum joined the growing list of village leaders of Calbayog being killed summarily. (photo courtesy)


CALBAYOG CITY- And yet another killing incidents rocked this city this week, killing two barangay chairmen and a councilor in a span of one week.

And police authorities of this city, Eastern Visayas biggest in terms of land area, remain without any clear proof what could have been motivated the killers in shooting their victims.

On Wednesday (May 20), the village chairman and one of his councilors of Barangay Dagum were killed by still unidentified armed men while they were attending in a meeting inside their two-storey barangay hall.

And prior to the killing of Merencillo Lebario, 45 and village chair of Dagum and his councilor Dionesio Lungsod, 55 of Dagum, another barangay chairman of the city was killed.

Killed on May 17 was Edgar Belleza, 35, of Barangay Carayman who was shot to death by a lone gunman outside the house of Jesus Taduyo, a relative.

Belleza’s elder brother, Juliano, was also killed on May 15, 2014.

Juliano at that time was a member of the city council being the president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) of Calbayog. His death remains unsolved.

The deaths of the three barangay officials rose to 15 the number of killing incidents in Calbayog since the start of the year, just less than 12 months before the conduct of the May 9, 2016 presidential elections.

Summary killings in Calbayog last year was reported at 47.
Calbayog has been constantly placed under “hot spot area” by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during elections with politics considered as among the possible motives.

Calbayog city police chief, Supt. Marben Ordoña, in an interview, said that as of now they don’t have any lead yet on the incidents.

He, however, said that they are looking the political angle as one of the possible motives for these killing incidents.

The police officer appeals to the public for their assistance to help them find the killers of the victims.

Based on police investigation, Lebario and Lungsod, both serving on their first term in office, were inside their barangay hall on that day at around 10:40 in the morning when two armed men barged inside and without provocation shot Lebario.

In the confusion, Lungsod ran his way to the adjacent office of the building but one of the killers followed and shot him.

Both sustained several bullet wounds at their heads and chests, said SPO3 Inocentes Laure of the city police crime scene investigation.

Elma Pampanga, barangay secretary and one of those present during the gruesome incident, said that the two suspects were not wearing any cap or bonnet, wearing t-shirts and shorts and could be on their late twenties.

However, she admitted that she could not remember their faces as she was in the state of shock. She was unharmed.

Another man, who served as a lookout, was waiting the two gunmen and sped their way out using a lone motorcycle.

The PNP Regional Public Safety Battalion and the Calbayog PNP is now conducting a hot pursuit operation.

City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino, who also chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council, as of posting, has yet to issue a statement on the incident.