MANILA - An ongoing investigation has yet to uncover the motive of two high-ranking policemen tagged in the killing of an anti-crime crusader in Oriental Mindoro earlier this month.
Zenaida Luz, regional head of Citizens Crime Watch (CCW), received on October 12 a text message from an anonymous sender who claimed to be involved in vigilante killings and sought her protection.
Luz agreed to wait for the text sender outside her house in Barangay Maligaya, Gloria town. She was shot and killed there by two men on a motorcycle, one wearing a wig and the other a ski mask.
Policemen, whose office was located near the victim's house, immediately chased the suspected assassins and cornered them several kilometers away. The two men tried to fight the authorities and were wounded in the ensuing gun battle.
When they fell to the ground, the suspects immediately shouted "tropa, tropa" (troops) and identified themselves as Senior Inspector Magdaleno Pimentel Jr. of the Oriental Mindoro Police Public Safety Company and Inspector Markson Almeranez, police chief of Socorro town.
Pimentel and Almarenaz were still recovering from their wounds at a hospital and have yet to give their statements, the director of the province's police Internal Affairs Service, Superintendent William Destura said Thursday.
Destura said investigators have collected statements from the victim's family in a bid to determine the motive behind the killing.
"Kami po ay personal na nagtungo sa pamilya para laliman pa kung ano nga ba talaga ang naging motibo nung dalawa. Mayroon nga po silang ibinibigay na impormasyon pero iyun po ay subject pa sa verification pa rin po ng ating opisina," he told radio DZMM.
(We personally went to the Luz family to probe deeper on the possible motive of the two policemen. The family gave us some information, but these are still subject to verification by our office.)
The official added that the crime appears unconnected to illegal drugs, even though Luz headed a livelihood program for drug suspects who have surrendered in droves in response to government's all-out anti-narcotics drive.
"Doon sa mga ibinigay na detalye ng pamilya, parang wala naman pong tungkol sa drugs," he said, refusing to give further details.
(None of the details from the family appeared to be about drugs.)
HUNT FOR COHORTS
Destura also confirmed that they are still searching for the rider of another motorcycle who allegedly provided back-up to the arrested policemen.
"Base po sa aming pag-iimbestiga, dalawang motor po iyun. Iyung isang motor po, isa rin sa tinututukan nila para ma-identify kung sino ba talaga iyung isa. At large pa rin po iyun sa ngayon," Destura said.
But the official also cautioned that it is still too early to conclude that other policemen may be involved in the murder.
"Isa po iyun sa tinitingnang anggulo pero sa ngayon po, wala pa naman tayong matibay na basehan," he stressed.
The suspects will be transferred to the provincial jail as soon as a doctor clears their condition. The victim's family has filed murder and direct assault charges against the two.