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Army colonel shot dead celebrating Father’s Day

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A senior military officer, who was responsible for the neutralization of a Malaysian bomb expert in Basilan last year, was shot to death by two motorcycle-riding armed men while celebrating “Father’s Day” with his family in this city at about 9:35 p.m. Sunday.

Police probers said Lt. Col. Cristobal Julian Paulo Perez, 49, personnel chief of the 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Pulakan, Zamboanga del Sur, was shot dead outside his family-owned Secret Recipe Restaurant at compound of his residence in Aurora Village, Barangay Guiwan, this city.

According to police, Perez went out of the compound through the back door after receiving a phone call.

The police reported that shots were heard by the victim’s family while Perez was having a conversation with the person who called him through phone.

When they rushed to check, they were surprised to see Perez lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds in the head, face and different parts of the body.

He was rushed to Zamboanga Peninsula Hospital (ZAMPEN) where he expired after one hour while undergoing medical treatment.

The Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) recovered four empty shells of caliber .45 pistol at the crime scene.

It was learned that Lt. Col. was then commanding officer of 18th IB in Basilan when his troops neutralized Malaysian bomb expert Mohammad Najib Hussin alias Abu Anas at the boundary of Al-Barka and Mohammad Adjul towns, Basilan, last year.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1993, Perez served as aide-de-camp of retired General Hermogenes Esperon Jr, incoming National Security of Adviser of the Duterte administration, when the latter headed the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The local police have activated a special investigation task group to conduct deep investigation over the gun-slaying of Perez.

Supt. Luisito Magnaye, Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director, said the probe body, Special Task Group Tiny, is named after the nickname of Perez. (with reports from Elena Aben & PNA) (NONOY E. LACSON)