PNP: No leads yet on ex-Cebu town mayor’s slay
(The Philippine Star) – June 21, 2019 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Police are facing a blank wall in the murder of a former town mayor of Medellin, Cebu in a hospital.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said yesterday that probers are looking into the alleged involvement of former mayor Ricardo Ramirez in the illegal drug trade as a possible motive in his murder.
“There is information he was formerly included in the drug watchlist so we will look into this angle,” Albayalde said on the sidelines of the 5th Tactical, Survival and Arms Expo at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.
The Cebu police formed a special investigation task group to look into the killing.
The task group remains clueless on the identity of the assailants or the mastermind, according to Lt. Col. Eloveo Marquez, spokesman for the Cebu provincial police.
Marquez said the group is eyeing drugs and personal grudge as among the motives for the killing, although he clarified that these need further investigation.
He said probers found similarities in the manner by which Ramirez and another town mayor, Mariano Blanco of Ronda, were killed. ?Ramirez was shot several times on Tuesday by four of 15 men who barged into his room at the Bogo-Medellin Medical Center in Barangay Luy-a, where he had been under hospital arrest.
A nurse said the men, whose faces were covered with bonnets, arrived in four sport utility vehicles.
The nurse said the men were speaking in mixed Tagalog and Bisaya.
Blanco was asleep at the municipal hall when a group of men on board a white van arrived and killed him.
Marquez said Blanco and Ramirez were both tagged in the illegal drug trade. ?He said investigators have yet to confirm from Ramirez’s family if the victim was receiving threats prior to his death.
Marquez said they are ready to deploy additional police officers in Medellin if requested by residents.
Ramirez was arrested on July 26, 2017 following a search on his residence that resulted in the recovery of assorted drug paraphernalia.
Albayalde has ordered an intensified manhunt for the assailants who disarmed two security guards and Ramirez’s security detail.
Albayalde described the killing as “shocking,” noting at least 15 suspects were involved in the attack.
He said the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology may have underestimated the threat on Ramirez’s life as only one security officer was detailed for him.
No parallel probe
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) would not conduct a parallel probe into the Ramirez’s murder.
Guevarra said for the meantime, they would let the PNP investigate the incident first.
He said the NBI-Central Visayas Region would be ready to step in if needed. – With Evelyn Macairan, Mae Clydyl Avila/The Freeman
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