Reward mulled for arrest of Cagayan mayor's killers

By Charlie Lagasca and Raymund Catindig, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 27 2014 10:24 AM | Updated as of Apr 27 2014 06:24 PM

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines – The family of slain Mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr. of Gonzaga town in Cagayan is considering putting up a cash reward for the capture of the mastermind and the killers.

Pentecostes’ brother, Edward, said they have yet to determine the amount of the reward that would be given to anyone who could provide information leading to the identification and arrest of the killers.

“This will be finalized when his wife arrives, including the date and manner of the burial. Whatever she says we’ll follow,” said Edward, the eldest among the Pentecostes brood.

Pentecostes’ wife, Marilyn, who is based in the United States, and three of their children are expected to arrive in Gonzaga today.

Meanwhile, the Gonzaga council has declared a state of mourning in the entire town.

The municipal government cancelled the town’s annual fiesta celebration dubbed “Dawa Festival,” slated on May 12 to 16, in support of the council resolution.

The cash reward came as the family expressed doubts over what police claim that the New People’s Army (NPA) was behind the killing.

Despite admission from the NPA, the family insisted the killing was politically motivated, and the armed men who stormed the Gonzaga town hall grounds were mercenaries.

Edward said they are asking the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a separate investigation into his brother’s murder.

The family debunked claims the killing was connected to the black sand mining operations in the town, which the mayor reportedly supported.

Pentecostes, 60, was shot dead by two of eight armed men in camouflage uniform, as he was leading a flag ceremony at the municipal hall ground on Monday.

He died from nine gunshots to the head and body.

The assailants, reports said, were among the more than 30 armed men who seized control of the town hall grounds during the attack.

Three days after the incident, the NPA’s West Cagayan Front, in a statement, admitted responsibility for the killing.

Ester Falcon, the NPA Front’s spokesperson, said the mayor was guilty of “espionage” for allegedly aiding the military in their operations against the rebels.