By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – A former village chief, who was previously charged for illegal drugs offenses here, was gunned down by an unidentified man at a weighlifting gym along Margarita Street in Barangay Villamonte here on Thursday.
Slain was Manuel “Maui” Huelar, a former Barangay 35 captain, who was released from jail in December 2018, following a plea bargaining agreement. He was also a former Negros Slashers star, in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).
The shooting happened while the city was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lt. Col. Ariel Pico, public information officer of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), said Huelar went out of the gym to answer a phone call when the gunman suddenly shot him from close range.
He succumbed to gunshots in the head, Pico said.
The gunman, who was wearing a face mask, fled on-foot to a waiting get-away vehicle.
Pico said that Huelar had asked permission from the gym owner, who was his friend, if he could use the facility Thursday.
Police recovered from the scene two empty shells of .45 caliber, and the victim’s .45 caliber, among his personal belongings.
Pico said they still have no lead on the identity of the gunman, since there was no witness in the incident.
He said they were looking at a drug-related motive as possible angle behind the killing, adding that Huelar reportedly continued his illegal drug activity even after he was released from jail.
“He‘s still part of our drugs watchlist,” Pico said.
Pico said the victim’s family has yet to issue a statement regarding the incident.