July 22, 2018, 11:45 pm
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Politics eyed anew behind killing of Tawi-tawi exec

PNP chief Oscar Albayalde yesterday said politics is being eyed by investigators in the killing of Sapa-sapa, Tawi-tawi Vice Mayor Hadji Al-Rasid Mohammad Ali E. Lipae, who was reportedly being groomed to replace his father as mayor in next year’s elections.

Albayalde said Alsaggab Lee Mohammad Ali, Hadji’s father, is already in his third and final term as municipal mayor.

“His family says that Hadji has no enemies and they see no other motive to the killing except politics since he was (being) groomed to replace his father as mayor,” Albayalde said.

Hadji was with his wife and security escort when a lone gunman casually walked toward his vehicle and shot him several times while his vehicle was stuck in traffic along Governor Alvarez road in Zamboanga City on Wednesday afternoon.

The gunman calmly walked toward a waiting motorcycle driven by a cohort and sped away.

Hadji was rushed to the Doctor’s Medical Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival due to three gunshot wounds.

Politics was also eyed as the motive behind the killing of Trece Martires, Cavite Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan last week, according to police.

Abayalde also said the two men arrested in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur Wednesday in connection with the killing of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote have identified the person who allegedly hired them for the hit.

“That’s what he told the investigators (that he was hired to kill Mayor Bote). That’s why we cannot disclose yet the name of the person who hired them; he is now (the) subject of our manhunt.  He is now a person of interest,” Albayalde said.

The two – Florencio Suarez, 48, and Robert Gumacay, 35, were apprehended in a checkpoint along Andaya Highway in Del Gallego town based on an information from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. They are now under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group based in Naga City.

Police earlier said that only one caliber .45 pistol was recovered but it turned out police recovered from the two possession eight more firearms, mostly .45 caliber pistols. Albayalde said the pistols will undergo ballistics tests.

Albayalde said the two confessed to taking part in shooting Bote.  However, only Gumacay confessed in front of a counsel.

Albayalde said business interests remain as the strongest motive behind the killing of Bote.

In the case of Tanauan, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili, Albayalde said the police are following “good leads” but refused to give further details.

“In Mayor Halili’s case, we are not confident to say or we cannot exactly say that it was election-related or politically motivated,” Albayalde said.

Halili was included in President Duterte’s narcolist despite his tough stance against illegal drugs.

The Cavite Police Provincial Office yesterday said the engine and chassis numbers of the Toyota Hilux found abandoned in a remote barangay in Maragondon town on Wednesday and believed to have been used in the killing of Trece Martires Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan has been tampered with.

Senior Supt. William Segun, provincial police chief, remained confident the ownership of the vehicle could be established.

“We are convinced that this is the vehicle used in killing Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan,” Segun said.

He said politics remains the strongest motive behind Lubigan’s killing after he signified his intention to run for mayor in next year’s polls.
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