MANILA -- Quezon City Acting Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the murder of Barangay Bagong Silangan Chairwoman Criselle Beltran, and has offered a PHP3-million cash reward for information on the possible culprits.
"I extend my most heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones, and in my personal capacity as a public servant, I assure them that we will exhaust all means to bring the perpetrators of this shameless crime to justice," she added.
Belmonte said Beltran was a personal friend and that they were "together only a few days ago for a study tour in Davao City."
"She was very close to my family, and even though she served in another political party, there was no animosity between us. I know that she will be very much missed by the people who have worked with her -- including myself," she said.
The acting mayor assured the public that the government "will carefully explore all the motives of the case."
"This heinous crime has absolutely no place in Quezon City. This may be the first crime of its kind in Quezon City, but we will do all we can to make sure it is the last. As long as I -- and my fellow public servants -- live, I will make sure that our city will never become a hotspot for political violence," Belmonte said.
Belmonte convened a special session of the Quezon City Council to appropriate an initial PHP3 million as cash reward to anyone who could provide information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.
"I have also ordered the Quezon City police to prioritize the investigation and arrange for the immediate resolution of the case," she said.
Belmonte noted that Quezon City Police District Director Joselito Esquivel, Jr. himself has vowed to lead the investigation.
She also called on the public "not to post anything in social media" that may create confusion in the investigation, saying "Let us work together to bring the culprits to justice. This violence and injustice ends today."
Beltran was shot by riding-in-tandem suspects at noon along J.P. Rizal Street near Gate 3 of Filinvest 2 Village in Barangay Bagong Silangan.
She was declared dead on arrival at the FEU Hospital in Quezon City.
Beltran was a candidate for the position of representative of the 2nd District of Quezon City for the May 13 mid-term elections. (PNA)