CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela: Two policemen and six others are facing charges of murder and frustrated murder in connection with the July 15 ambush that left dead a barangay (village) chairman and three members of his family in Santo Tomas town here.
The Isabela Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said the suspects were identified as Police Officer 3 Rogelio Cataggatan and PO1 Claramito Bibat of Santo Tomas Police Station.
They were accused of four counts of murder and two counts of frustrated murder along with six civilians–Nelson Laggui, Ricky Boy Bautista, Edcel Sibal, Rosito Baguno Jr., Billy Burraga aand Melchor Mamauag, all of Santo Tomas town.
The two policemen have been restricted and placed under the custody of the Isabela Police Provincial Office.
The victims–village chairman Montano Zipagan of Barangay Cañogan Abajo Sur; his his daughter Joylyn Mabbayad; niece Jelane Zipagan, 8; and granddaughter Aira Shane Zipagan, 12–were killed after unidentified assailants flagged down their vehicle and sprayed them with bullets while traveling along an isolated cornfield in the area.
Zipagan’s wife, Benita, and their one-year-old grandchild survived the ambush.
The victims’ car was blasted with an M-203 grenade and then strafed by the assailants, who were wearing bonnets and armed with M16, M14 and AK47 rifles.
The police said aside from illegal drugs, they are also looking at politics as motive in the killing of Zipagan and his kin.
EANDER C. DOMINGO