ALBUERA, Leyte: The town’s retired chief of police, reportedly a supporter of the incumbent mayor, who resigned after losing in the May 9 elections, was killed in an ambush on Monday afternoon while stuck in traffic along the national highway here.
Police Chief Insp. Castor Cabilugan identified the victim as retired Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Alfredo Bucabuca, 63, also a village councilor of Barangay Tinag-an, this town.
Cabilugan said that the victim and his wife Mercidita were on board their vehicle (an Isuzu Highlander with plate number 0LDJ-216) were on their way home from a local bank in the city when ambushed.
Police said the couple’s vehicle was stuck in traffic along the village of Macabug because of the ongoing repair of Panilahan Bridge in the area, when two suspects riding a motorcycle drove along the driver side of the vehicle. The back-riding gunman fired shots at Bucabuca, who reportedly tried to cover his wife from the assassin’s bullets.
The former police officer died instantly. Scene of the crime operatives (SOCO) personnel recovered seven spent shells of a .45 caliber pistol and a slug of the same caliber.
The suspects fled towards the town proper.
The police said not one of those who witnessed the broad daylight ambush wanted to give testimony. The victim’s wife, in a state of shock, only described the gunman as wearing a blue shirt.
Cabilugan said they are considering politics as one of the motives in the killing, since the victim was an ally of incumbent town Mayor Ramon de la Cerna Jr., who resigned after losing to mayor-elect Rolando Espinosa.
Bucabuca has told The Manila Times that de la Cerna resigned six weeks before his term ends on June 30 “for fear of his life”. He also said that he had received death threats even before the elections.
It was learned that the victim has a licensed firearm and a permit to carry outside his residence, but was not carrying a gun during the ambush.
The victim was also the complainant against the entire membership of the Sangguniang Bayan of Albuera for estafa through falsification of public documents and as well as administrative complaints for abuse of authority, dishonesty and grave misconduct in connection with the alleged sale of fake Philippine Councilors’ League (PCL) receipts. The charges came after one of the former town councilors – Sergio Batistis Jr. – was arrested in an entrapment in Davao City on June 10, 2015, for holding and selling fake PCL receipts to members of the Philippine Councilors League. The Ombudsman found Batistis guilty of the charges in February this year.