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Cebu town mayor killed inside office

 

By LESLEY VESTIL

 

RONDA Mayor Mariano Blanco

RONDA Mayor Mariano Blanco

CEBU CITY – The mayor of Ronda town, Southern Cebu was gunned down by unidentified assailants while inside his office at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco was gunned down six months after his nephew and vice mayor, lawyer Jonah John Ungab, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men in Cebu City.

In a report provided by the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), two municipal contractual workers serving as watchmen claimed that four men on board a white van arrived at the Ronda municipal hall.

The four unidentified men got off the van, ordered the watchmen at gunpoint to drop to the ground, then entered the town hall.

Minutes later, several bursts of gunfire were heard inside the municipal office before the four unidentified suspects left and sped away with their vehicle.

The two watchmen rushed inside the municipal hall and found Blanco lying bloodied in his office.

Blanco was immediately brought to a district hospital in a neighboring town but was declared dead at 2:30 a.m.

Last year, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) removed Blanco’s police powers over allegations that he was linked to illegal drug activities.

Blanco, who first ran for mayor under the Liberal Party in 2010, was one of two town mayors in Cebu being monitored by the Philippine National Police for alleged ties to illegal drugs.

Six months before his death, Blanco’s nephew and vice mayor Jonah John Ungab was shot dead by unidentified assailants after attending a hearing at the Cebu City Palace of Justice.

Meantime, more suspected drug pushers were arrested at the start of the week in different parts of the province of Negros Oriental as the police continues its anti-illegal drugs operations.

In Tanjay City, about 30.8 kilometers north of Dumaguete City, police arrested three suspects at around 12 p.m. of Monday.

The suspects were identified as Oliver Ramirez Navarro, 43, married, resident of Barangay 6; Richard Zerna Abodi, single, 42, resident of Barangay 6; and Jimmy Ygona Castro, single, 39, resident of Barangay 4, all in Tanjay City.

A report from Supt. Kat Ramos of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NORPPO) said the three suspects are “newly identified” drug personalities on the watchlist of the Tanjay Police.

During the buy-bust operation, police confiscated three pieces of transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu and Php1,000 marked bill used in the drug buy-bust.

Meanwhile, police arrested a farmer in Barangay Catigucan in the southern town of Siaton on Monday afternoon.

A police report said the suspect, Richard Calihan Baclaan, resident of Barangay Caticugan, was arrested at around 3:50 p.m. by police personnel led by Chief Insp. Varie Villanobos, after he was caught in the act of selling suspected shabu.

Seized from the suspect were two heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu and a Php500 marked bill.

Baclaan is also a “newly-identified” personality on the drugs watchlist, the police said. (With a report from Philippine News Agency)

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