Police tag 2 persons of interest in Blanco slay
Politics floated as possible motive in mayor’s killing
The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) has identified at least two “persons of interest” in the killing of Mayor Mariano Blanco III of Ronda town, southwest Cebu with politics being floated as one of the possible motives in the murder that left an entire town in shock.
Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, director of CPPO, however declined to name or give other information about the two individuals, saying they are still investigating and gathering evidence to unmask the perpetrators behind the gruesome murder.
“Our profiling continues. We want to know where these persons were at the time of the incident. We will invite them to the station once we find enough basis to do so,” he said in an interview on Friday.
While the two individuals could not yet be considered as suspects, Abrugena said they could help shed light on the crime.
Connected to Ungab’s killing?
Investigators are not discounting the possibility that the murder of Blanco was related to the killing of his nephew, Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab in February 2018.
“May nagsabi sa amin na personal daw niya narinig na minura ng isang immediate family ng napatay na mayor na this will not happen kung hindi nangyari yon sa vice mayor. (Someone told us that he overheard one of the slain mayor’s immediate family cursing somebody, saying this could not have happened if the vice mayor was not killed),” Abrugena said.
He did not elaborate.
Sought for comment, Blanco’s eldest daughter Ann Marie said they never cursed anyone and that the Blanco family never blamed the Ungabs for her father’s death.
“We’re not that kind of persons. And I don’t think they (Ungabs) can do that to my father.
That’s impossible,” she told Cebu Daily News.
Ungab’s nephew and spokesperson of the family John Majed was happy with the trust given by the Blancos.
“We appreciate their disavowal of that angle. While we may have differed in our political views, it cannot change the fact that there was a time we were a solid and unified family,” he said in a text message to CDN.
“We are taking time to set all our differences aside and heal,” he added.
John Majed refused to comment further.
Unidentified men shot dead Blanco inside the mayor’s office at the municipal hall of Ronda past 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Based on the report by two job order watchmen, four unidentified persons suddenly arrived on board a white van, pointed their guns at them and instructed them to drop on the ground.
They later found the bloodied body of Blanco inside his office.
The killing came seven months after the slay of Ungab outside Cebu City’s courthouse in February 2018.
Ungab, a lawyer, served as legal counsel to confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
Ungab’s brother Jonald earlier floated the possibility that the killing had something to do with politics.
In 2016, Jonald ran against Blanco but lost.
Abrugena said it’s likely that the murder of Ungab and Blanco were connected.
“We’re studying the slay of Mayor Blanco versus the slay of Vice Mayor Ungab,” he said.
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