IMOK IS DEAD
Controversial Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta did not make it home alive.
Rupinta took bullets in the head and shoulder fired by two unknown assailants, ending his life at 9:33 p.m. and before he could reach his home at the Eastland Subdivision in Barangay San Vicente, Liloan town, northern Cebu.
“Patay gyud. Ulo gyud. Fatal gyud (He is dead. He was shot in the head. It was fatal). This is very sad,” said Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera.
Garganera, Rupinta’s ally in Barug Team Rama, said they were now coordinating with the Liloan police to make sure that justice is served on the barangay captain.
The Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in Cebu City condemned Rupinta’s killing.
“Atong panawagan sa regional office ug NBI nga palagman ang inbestigasyon sa kamatayon ni Capt. Imok (We call on the regional police and the National Bureau of Investigation to get into the bottom of the killing of Captain Imok),” said Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman in his Facebook post last night.
“Hope ang city hall mo issue na sab ug statement sa kamatayon ni capt. Imok (I hope the City Hall will also issue a statement on the death of Captain Imok),” added Ayuman, Cebu City ABC vice president.
Garganera, quoting Rupinta’s companion Jocelyn Mendoza, said the two were on their way home to Liloan town from the Ermita barangay hall when they were waylaid by two motorcycle-riding men sometime past 8 p.m.
Garganera said the two men, who were in their twenties, rained bullets on the driver’s side of the Isuzu D-Max pickup with plate number YGB 554, driven by Rupinta.
The two were traveling at the Cebu North Road from the Cansaga Bridge in Consolacion town when Mendoza noticed the two men, who were on board separate motorcycles, drove past their pickup as Rupinta was about to make a left turn at the corner of the Capulay’s Barbecue to the Bag-ong Dan, an interior road in Barangay Tayud, said Garganera.
The two men, who did not wear helmets, then parked on the right side of the road around 200 meters from the corner of Capulay’s Barbecue.
Garganera said that bystanders saw the two men rain bullets on Rupinta’s side of the vehicle.
Mendoza, who was unharmed, told Garganera that Rupinta tried to avoid their attackers and drove to the other side of the two-lane road. Their vehicle fell into a grassy portion located on the left side of the road after he applied the hand break.
However, Rupinta was critically wounded and had died before reaching the Mendera Medical Center in Consolacion town.
Based on the initial findings of attending doctors, Rupinta had four bullet wounds — two in the forehead, one on the left side of his neck and on the left arm — according to Garganera.
“We are now coordinating with the police. We are trying to get to the bottom of this,” Garganera told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview last night.
His interview with CDN was cut short after a sobbing Mendoza came to him.
Garganera and Vice Mayor Edgar Labella were among the Team Rama allies who first arrived at the hospital after hearing reports of Rupinta’s ambush.
SPO2 Andrew Rellanos of the Liloan Police Station, on the other hand, affirmed Rupinta was driving the pickup when the two suspects riding separate motorcycles repeatedly fired shots at the driver’s side of the vehicle.
Bullets pierced the window on the driver’s side while blood was all over the driver’s seat.
The glass window on the passenger’s side of the vehicle was broken, while bullet holes could be found on the window on the right side of the vehicle’s backseat.
Garganera said he called former Liloan Mayor Duke Frasco to ask for help. Police were now securing the crime scene.
Rupinta’s wake will be at St. Peter Chapels in Imus, Cebu City, before his body would be brought to Ermita’s barangay hall, said Garganera.
Rupinta became controversial in October after he led the posting of tarpaulins on houses in his barangay that he identified as drug-free.
The Commission on Human Rights investigated his anti-drug program, prompting him to stop it.
Early this year, Rupinta and all seven councilors of Barangay Ermita were suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman starting last February for failure to cooperate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during a drug raid in November 2016.
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