Cop chief: We tried to ensure safety of mayor yet he was still killed in the ambush

By: Delta Dyrecka C. Letigio October 25,2019 - 05:15 PM

The body of Clarin Mayor David Navarro is covered with a blanket while police process the crime scene. | Raul Constantine Labrador

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Clarin town Mayor David Navarro was 378 kilometers away from his hometown when he was shot dead on Friday afternoon, October 25, 2019 in Cebu City.

At least 10 men ambushed the convoy of police cars bringing Navarro to the Office of the City Prosecutor in Barangay Capitol Site.

Read more: Ten armed men involved in Clarin mayor’s ambush-slay, says policeman

Police Master Sergeant Carlos Balasoto, the driver of the patrol car carrying the mayor, his two sisters, two aides, the police chief of Clarin, and two other police escorts, denied that they were overpowered by the armed men who shot the mayor.

“Wala mi na overpower, nakalitan lang mi. Wala na gyod mi naka-return fire kay paspas kaayo ang panghitabo,” said Balasoto.

(We were not overpowered. We were just surprised at how fast the events happened. We did not have time to return fire because it happened so fast.)

Four men were confirmed injured, including the police chief of Clarin, Police Corporal Eugenio Catalan, and two of the mayor’s aides.

Balasoto said everyone was asked to get out of the car at gunpoint and ordered to drop to the ground before the mayor was dragged out in the street to be shot multiple times.

Police Major Eduard Sanchez, Abellana Police Station chief, said they ensured his safety by providing a police convoy, making sure the mayor wore a bullet-proof vest, and by seating him in between police escorts.

Yet all these security measures did not prevent the mayor from being killed in broad daylight along a major thoroughfare in Cebu City. 

They do not know as of press time the reason why the mayor was killed.

Read more: Sister of slain Clarin mayor laments: ‘Naa ba’y hustisya?’

Princess Navarro, the sister of Mayor Navarro, said that her brother had enemies brought about by his political career.

The mayor has served three terms in the past, served one term as a representative, and was elected as Mayor of Clarin once again in the recent May 2019 elections.

Read more: Arrested mayor of Clarin, Misamis Occidental in Duterte’s narco list

He was, however, included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of narcopoliticians.

Princess Navaro denied this information, saying they had already cleared his name over this “false accusation.”

Princess came to Cebu City just this morning to fetch his brother who was accused of physical injuries and acts of lasciviousness by a massage parlor in downtown Cebu City.

“Ganahan ra gyod ko mauli mi sa amoa,” she said.

(I really wanted for us to return home.)

She said her brother was ready to settle the case against him, but justice slid off his grasp as he was killed 500 meters away from the Office of the City Prosecutor.

Princess said travelling from the hospital to the fiscal’s office, she already felt something was wrong.

She saw the white van pull up behind them, saw the armed men open their patrol car’s doors.

She even tried to shield her brother, but she could not stop them.

As the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) process the crime scene, the filing of charges against the three aides of the mayor involved in the physical injury case continues at the Office of the City Prosecutors.

Meanwhile, speculations on the circumstance of Navarro’s death continues.

Sanchez only said it was most likely planned, but he could not tell why. /dbs

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