Cebu town vice-mayor shot dead after court hearing

Joworski Alipon, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2018 02:25 PM | Updated as of Sep 28 2018 08:08 AM

MANILA - Unidentified gunmen shot and killed the vice-mayor of Ronda town in Cebu Monday shortly after attending the court hearing of his client, self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. 

Ronda Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab was driving his car and was about to make a right turn when 2 individuals approached the driver's side and shot him along S. Osmeña Street in Cebu City, Senior Police Officer 1 Winston Ybañez of the Cebu City Police Homicide Section said.

Ybañez said Ungab had a lady passenger inside the vehicle who was unharmed after the shooting incident.

Ungab, who is also the legal counsel of Espinosa, had just come from a court promulgation relating to the case against his client.

He told ABS-CBN News before the shooting that he was able to secure a certification from the Firearms Explosives Security Service Agency and Guards Supervisory Section (FESSAGS) in Central Visayas that Espinosa had a license for his firearms. 

"The police did not inform the court [that Espinosa] has a license[d] firearm. We were able to secure a certification from FESSAGS during that time," Ungab told ABS-CBN News in an interview an hour before the crime.

Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 23 has just acquitted Espinosa of Illegal Possession of Firearms, but convicted him of the gun ban violation under the Omnibus Election Code.

The case stems from a buy bust operation that took place in Barangay Duljo-Fatima, Cebu City in 2010.

The police operation yielded packs of illegal drugs and a .45-caliber pistol owned by Espinosa.

Espinosa was charged with violating Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Illegal Possession of Firearms. In 2012, Espinosa was acquitted of the drug case.

In the latest decision, RTC Judge Generosa Labra said authorities failed to prove that Espinosa's firearms were illegally owned.