Manila policeman killed in ambush

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The wife of a slain Manila police officer on Tuesday denied allegations that her husband was involved in the drug trade and that he was the one behind the murder of a female police officer last March 19.

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Jenalyn Piniano, 34, wife of Police Officer 2 Mark Anthony Piniano, 34, said her husband received several death threats before he was shot dead on Tuesday at about 7 a.m. near San Marcelino Street and Ayala Boulevard in Ermita, Manila, just few meters away from the main gate of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP).

Driving his motorcycle, Piniano, a resident of Pacheco Street, Tondo, was bringing his 15-year-old daughter to nearby Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) when five persons—two each riding in motorcycles and one lookout, also in a motorcycle—shot him in the head and body, killing him instantly.

Investigators recovered more than 20 spent shells of .45 caliber pistol and .9 mm pistol.

Piniano’s daughter was unharmed but a student of TUP was hit by a stray bullet in the leg.

Police were scrutinizing the closed-circuit television footage of Barangay 660 that caught how Piniano was waylaid by the gunmen.

The policeman was brought to Mary Chilles Hospital where he was declared dead.

Piniano, whose last assignment was at Manila Police District Headquarters Support Unit before his death, was the main suspect in the killing of Police Officer 1 Jorsan Marie Alafriz.

Alafriz was a known anti-drug advocate and was active in anti-drug operations in Santa Cruz district where Piniano was assigned before he was transferred to MPD Support Unit.

Alafriz was assigned to the Barbosa Police Community Precinct in Quiapo for nine months before her death.

“My husband had several death threats and lately he had not been going to the office. He was asked to go to the office today. I was wondering why they know exactly the movements of my husband. They really had a plan to kill him,” Mrs. Piniano said in Filipino.

Piniano was in police uniform when he was waylaid.

The MPD headquarters are just a stone’s throw away from EAC.

“He was being implicated in the killing of a police officer. He had nothing to do with that. When the murder happened, he was with me in a hotel,” Mrs. Piniano said, sobbing.

She called on President Rodrigo Duterte for help, asking for justice.

Meanwhile, MPD Director Joel Napoleon Coronel identified Piniano as high-value target for being suspected as active in the drug trade.

Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada ordered Coronel to resolve the ambush of Piniano.

“Whatever the motives and circumstances, we owe it to the policeman’s family to investigate the case. I have tasked our city police force to leave no stone unturned to ensure that justice is served,” Estrada said.

The MPD Homicide Section is on top of the investigation, including the review of the CCTV footage.

JAIME R. PILAPIL

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