A LAWYER, a cousin of a peace negotiation consultant, and his bodyguard were gunned down at about 4.30 a.m. on Tuesday while attending the Misa De Gallo (Dawn Mass) in San Pablo town in Isabela province.

A police report said lawyer Arlan Castañeda, 38, of San Pablo town and Melito Binag, 38, of Cabagan town were inside the Catholic Church when two unidentified assailants appeared and fired shots at them.

Castañeda and Binag did not reach the nearest hospital alive.

Castaneda’s cousin, Felix Randy Malayao, consultant in the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front peace negotiations, said he is saddened at the treacherous death of Castañeda who once served as his pro bono counsel.

In his Facebook posts, Malayao said he is yet to establish the motive of the perpetrators in killing his cousin and his bodyguard.

”I could only surmise politics or something else. But I have yet to know. I have only received scant information so far. That it happened inside the church is something else,” he added.

Castañeda served nine years as municipal councilor of San Pablo town.

His wife, Joanna, is currently a member of the town’s municipal council.