Claims by a supposedly leftist group called Partisano of its daring ambush-killing of Malabon City (Metro Manila) Councilor Merlin “Tiger” Mañalac on Saturday afternoon may have credence as police probers have included the group as a possible principal suspect.
Mañalac, 45, died from gunshot wounds past 4 p.m at the Manila Central University Hospital along EDSA in Caloocan City (Metro Manila) where he was brought after the shooting.
He was attacked near his house on Perlas Street, Malabon City, which is about 300 meters away from the Malabon City Hall and a police station.
The incident happened during the election gun ban.
On Sunday, Director Eric Reyes, chief of the Northern Police District (NPD), ordered the formation of the Special Investigation Task Group-Merlin headed by Senior Supt. Rolando Anduyan.
Anduyan was instructed to conduct a thorough investigation to find out the motive for the killing and determine and arrest the suspects, including members of the Partisano.
He was also ordered by Reyes to closely coordinate with the Malabon police headed by Senior Supt. Severino Abad Jr. for the immediate arrest of the suspects.
Senior Police Officer 4 Ferdinand Espiritu said leaflets from the Partisano were found at the crime scene, wherein the armed group admitted to the killing of Manalac.
The Partisano said Mañalac was involved in the liquidation of a New People’s Army (NPA) member Peter Villasenor in 2010.
It added that Manalac was behind several illegal activities in Malabon, including drugs.
Mañalac was reportedly seeking reelection under the party of Mayor Antolin Oreta 3rd.
The Partisano is said to have been established in 2004 by the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines (MLPP), a group of communists that separated from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in 1993.
It is similar to the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB), an urban armed group that used to operate in Manila and Rizal province until the 1980s.
According to Bong Padua, public information chief of the Malabon city government, Mañalac was on his way to a political meeting with Oreta in Barangay Tonsuya when the ambush took place.
Padua said Oreta immediately offered P200,000 reward to those who could give information on the killers so that Mañalac would get justice.