By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The municipal vice mayor of Baliguian in Zamboanga del Norte, his police escort, and a civilian were killed while their other civilian companion was seriously injured when they were sprayed with automatic gunfire by five people shortly before noon Friday.
Baliguian police investigators identified the slain Baliguian vice mayor as Gani Esmali.
His police escort, identified as Pat Godelito Corbita Bongcac of Baliguian Municipal Police Station (MPS), and Jaymalin Jalabi Tunggal, a civilian, were both killed, while Abduladjid Ibno Bairula survived the ambush.
Vice Mayor Esmali, Bongcac, Tunggal, and Bairula were travelling from Baliguian to the municipality of Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte when they were ambushed at Sitio Barazon, Sta. Maria, Baliguian at about 11:20 a.m. yesterday.
According to reports, at least five armed men on board a light grey Toyota Hi-Lux sprayed the victims with automatic gunfire and immediately escaped towards the town proper of Baliguian.
Responding policemen led by Siocon MPS Police Maj. Edison F. Alviar-Acop said they immediately took the victims to Siocon District Hospital but they were declared death on arrival by the attending physician, except for Bairula who sustained serious gunshot wounds and survived the attack.
Alviar-Acop said they recovered 49 fired cartridge cases of an M16 Armalite rifle and one long aluminum magazine loaded with 18 rounds of live ammunition from the crime scene.
He said personnel of Siocon MPS are still conducting a follow-up investigation and hot pursuit operations against the suspects.