MANILA -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) ordered the deployment of security personnel to provide protection for San Fernando, Cebu Mayor Lakambini Reluya and her two staff members who were hurt in an ambush on Tuesday night.
“I have given instructions to the Regional Director of Police Regional Office 7 (Central Visayas), Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, to provide round the clock security to Mayor Reluya, Giovani Perez and Tolentin Jefer (staff members of the mayor) while they undergo treatment at a local hospital due to gunshot wounds suffered in the attack,” PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde said in a statement Wednesday.
Albayalde also vowed to support the team formed by the PRO-7 to probe the attack against Reluya.
“The National Headquarters, thru the concerned National Support Units, is supporting the Special Investigation Task Group created by PRO-7 to synchronize all investigative efforts by different PNP units to piece together the circumstances surrounding the incident and to identify and prosecute the perpetrators,” Albayalde said.
The PNP chief has given the Cebu police a two-week ultimatum to solve the case.
Albayalde said Talisay City Police chief, Supt. Marlu Conag and Cebu Provincial Police chief, Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena will be relieved from their posts if they fail to solve the said incident within the said timeframe.
“Remember, we solved the Batocabe case in less than two weeks. Kung talagang tatrabahuhin mo, kaya naman, kung talagang tutukan mo ang isang bagay (If you will work hard and focus on one thing, you can accomplish it). Also, if you will use your fertile imagination and initiative, pwede at ito ang gusto nating mangyari (this is possible and this what we want to happen),” he told reporters in an ambush interview after attending Kapihan Forum in Manila on Wednesday.
Albayalde was referring to the killing of AKO Bicol party-list representative Rodel Batocabe in December 22.
At least a week after the killing, police have identified the alleged mastermind, Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo and the suspects behind the assassination.
The six suspects all surrendered to the police and admitted their role in the killing.
While noting that it is premature to make early conclusions at this point, Albayalde said the actions will be guided by available facts and evidence at hand, and others that may be obtained later in the course of the investigation.
Conag, who personally rushed to the scene of the ambush, said Reluya is now safe in an undisclosed hospital.
On Tuesday evening, unidentified assailants fired at the victims who were onboard a Toyota Hiace Grandia van in Barangay Linao, Talisay City.
The mayor's husband, Ricardo, her driver Allan Bayot and another staff Ricky Monterona were killed in the ambush.
At present, the bullet-riddled van remains at the crime scene while Scene of the Crime Operations personnel are still investigating the incident.
Conag said the police have yet to determine the motive for the attack. (PNA)
Photo from San Fernando LGU Facebook page/Rappler