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Probers review police records of slain councilor

By MARTIN A. SADONGDONG

Investigators are checking on previous police records of Pasay City Councilor Borbie Rivera who was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding armed men at the parking lot of a popular mall in Las Piñas City Saturday night.

Southern Police District (SPD) director Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario Jr. said they are particularly probing the alleged link of Rivera to the killing of race car driver Enzo Pastor in 2014, as well as his involvement in a shooting incident that led to his detention in 2015 in Makati.

In a phone interview, Apolinario said they have no basis yet on the reported connection of Rivera, 39, to the murder of Pastor but they would include it in their investigation.

“Wala pa kaming sound basis to prove that ano, but as part of the on-going investigation, definitely we will look into that angle din, in our in-depth investigation,” Apolinario said.

Ang mahalaga dito makausap natin ang pamilya ng biktima para mabigyang-linaw din pero I think inaasikaso pa nila ‘yung wake at body ng victim kaya wala pang time,” he added.

Pastor was shot dead by riding-in-tandem gunmen on June 12, 2014 at the corner Congressional Avenue and Visayas Avenue in Quezon City while onboard a truck loaded with a race car he was about to use for an upcoming competition, reports said.

Reports added the alleged mastermind behind the slay plan, businessman Domingo “Sandy” de Guzman, and Pasay policeman PO2 Edgar Angel, reportedly the alleged gunman, were both nabbed by authorities in 2014.

Police eyed love triangle as a possible motive behind Pastor’s murder as De Guzman reportedly had an affair with the race car driver’s wife, Dalia Guerrero-Pastor.

An ABS-CBN report said that self-confessed contract killer Alvin Nidua tagged Rivera in the murder of the race car driver.

Nidua claimed in a sworn statement that alleged mastermind De Guzman hired him, through then Tramo, Pasay barangay captain Rivera, to kill Pastor. He claimed he did not accept the offer because the pay was too small.

Apolinario added that the alleged connection of Rivera to the illegal drug trade based on police records is also being investigated.

Rivera, along with seven others, were jailed and charged with murder in April 2015 due to a drive-by shooting incident involving Mark Felizardo Baggang.

Baggang was shot dead inside his car at a gas station in Brgy. Pio del Pilar, Makati, on January 24, 2015.

Police said there were plastic sachets containing suspected “shabu” inside the car.

“Eventually the case against him was dismissed while nag-prosper ‘yung kaso sa pito niyang kasama. After his murder case ay nag-umpisa na lahat ng attempts sa buhay niya,” Apolinario disclosed.

The Las Piñas Police has already created “Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Rivera” to solve the killing of Rivera at the open parking area of a mall Saturday night.

Senior Superintendent Marion Balonglong, Las Pinas police chief, however admitted the investigation of the six-man special team is being hampered with the “lack of sensible evidence.

He said they were waiting for the release of the copies of closed-circuit television (CCTV) footages from the mall.

“Doon talaga kami magsisimula dapat (acquiring of CCTV footages) kaya lang hindi pa ma-release eh. Maganda sana makita natin ‘yung sequence kumbaga dahil doon natin masisilip ‘yung pagdating ng mga suspek hanggang sa pagtakas. Eh ang kaso nag-rerely kami sa dalawang hawak namin na conflicting rin ang mga statements,” Balonglong said.

Balonglong was referring to the two on-duty mall guards whose identities were not divulged for security reasons.

“Medyo malabo ang ano (statements) nila eh. Sinasabi nila na naka-sasakyan daw ‘yung mga suspek eh sasakyan naman ng biktima ang tinutukoy nila,” he explained.

Initial investigation showed Rivera was shot by two motorcycle-riding assassins around 8:30 p.m. just as he got out of the Door 4 of the mall towards his car at the parking area.

Police said the killing of Rivera might be related to his work.

“Wala pang malinaw talaga eh pero kinoconsider natin na baka related sa work dahil president din ng Liga sa Pasay ‘yan eh. That’s why mahalaga statements ng pamilya,” Balonglong noted.

In a separate radio interview over DZBB, Apolinario said they are also verifying reports that there are more than two gunmen who attacked Rivera.

“We are verifying dahil may reports na more than three daw, siguro hanggang apat ang (suspects). Sa CCTV hopefully may makuha tayong magandang lead, pagawa tayo ng cartographic sketch para mas malinaw. We are also verifying reports din na may mga nakasumbrero, meron din ibang wala,” Apolinario disclosed.

He noted the suspects seemed to be “professional hitmen” based on the way they carried out the killing of the Pasay councilor.

“May report na gumamit daw ng itim na Fortuner, we will verify that, but initially it was a case of riding in tandem,” he added.

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