SOUTH COTABATO - A vice mayor's son who was also a police officer was shot dead on Tuesday night in South Cotabato.
Police Officer 1 Mark John Escobillo of the Tupi Police Station was shot in the abdomen by an unidentified gunman around 9 p.m. Tuesday, police said.
His father is Tupi Vice Mayor Noel Escobillo, who was visiting his other children in Europe with his wife when the incident happened. They have been notified about his death.
The younger Escobillo was brought to the municipal hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
An initial investigation said the gunman used a 12-gauge shotgun. Shotgun pellets were found in the victim's body.
Escobillo, as a team leader assigned in his area's Community Police Assistance Center, was leading his team in providing police visibility during one of the barangay’s night activities.
After the program, he went home on board a motorcycle issued by the police station. He was accompanied by a 17-year-old boy.
But while they were in the area of Purok 4, an unidentified gunman shot him. His companion managed to escape while the gunman also quickly fled after the shooting.
Police inspected the area but failed to identify the assailant. A squad from the Provincial Public Safety Company also attempted to pursue the attacker.
“Once na-identify na natin at na-establish na ang motive, doon na natin i-file ang kaso. So kapag lumabas na yung warrant of arrest doon na natin i-manhunt operation,” said police Senior Supt. Franklin Alvero, the provincial director of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office.
(Once we have identified and established the motive, that's when we will file the case. So once the warrant of arrest has been issued, that's when we will begin the manhunt operation.)
Alvero said Escobillo served as his police escort before the victim was assigned to the Tupi Police Station. Escobillo had been with the PNP for five years.
“Mapagkaibigan itong victim. Sobrang matiwala sa ibang tao. Madalas nakikipagkamay at kinakausap ang mga kakilala,” said Alvero.
In Koronadal City, a similar shooting incident occurred on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
The victim was identified as 53-year-old Julito Pancho, who was shot by an unidentified gunman in Barangay Avanceña.
Recovered from the crime scene were five shells of an undetermined firearm.
Police are still investigating the incident. The victim's family said he had no links to any illegal activities.