Ronaldo Aquino, the mayor of Calbayog City, was not killed in an ambush but died when he got caught in a shootout with cops, Philippine National Police chief General Debold Sinas announced today.
According to initial reports, Aquino was killed by a group of men who had been tailing after him as the mayor was on his way to attend his son’s birthday party. The mayor had just finished playing tennis at the Calbayog Sports Complex past 5pm, and was driving with his entourage in the village of Lonoy when the alleged ambush occurred.
Aquino was hit on the head and was proclaimed dead on arrival at St. Camillus Hospital. Two of his bodyguards who have yet to be identified were also killed in the ambush.
However, Sinas said that while details remain incomplete, he is convinced that Aquino died in a shootout with the police, and it was the mayor’s bodyguards who shot first. One cop died from the incident, and a few others were injured.
“Our police who were passing by, based on the initial findings, were shot by mayor’s escorts. They didn’t know they were the police, and the police just retaliated,” Sinas told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
While Sinas appears already certain with his conclusions, a task force has been formed to conduct a more thorough investigation of the mayor’s death.
Aquino was on his third and last term as the city’s mayor. He first ascended to his position in 2011 when then-mayor Reynaldo Uy was killed by unknown gunmen while attending a fiesta in Samar. Aquino, who was Uy’s vice mayor, succeeded the slain politician.
Vice Mayor Diego Rivera is expected to replace Aquino.
This article, Calbayog City mayor died from police shootout, not ambushed, says Sinas, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.