• Manhunt on for militiaman who killed his commanding officer

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    The Police has launched a manhunt operation against a government militiaman who shot dead his commanding officer following a drinking session last December 6 at a hinterland village in Mt. Province.The belated police report sent only on Saturday identified the gunman as Antonio Cassiw Jr., a member of the Saclit tribe in Sadanga, Mt. Province. The victim was identified as Sgt. Jerry Cuntapay, 46, of the Philippine Army’s 77th Infantry Battalion (IB). Cuntapay is the commanding officer of the 77th IB’s battalion of militiamen, where Cassiw is a member.According to the report, the two had a heated argument during a drinking session on that day. Cuntapay was shot at the back of his head with an M16 rifle. Cassiw was also reported to have performed a ritual dance called ‘Tomo’ shortly after the shooting. (Tomo is a ritual that is performed when someone kills a person, with the killer dressed in a warrior’s attire. Tribe members, referred to as ‘ator,’ usually join to form a circle. Although Cassiw immediately fled, the Saclit tribe village officers reportedly turned over the M14 rifle issued to Cassiw and Cuntapay’s M16 Armalite. Murder charges were filed against Cassiw at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Bontoc, Mountain Province based on the testimonies of other militiamen.

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