Task force spearheads probe on PCSO exec’s slay

A SPECIAL Investigation Task Group has been created to spearhead the probe into the killing of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board secretary Wesley Barayuga, a retired police general who happened to be a lawyer-mistah from Philippine Military Academy Class 1983 of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año in Mandaluyong City on Thursday afternoon.

The 62-year-old Barayuga and his driver Jojo Gunao had just left the PCSO central office in Mandaluyong City on board a PCSO vehicle: a white Mitsubishi Strada with plate no. SKR-923 when they were shot by a motorcycle-riding assassin in Calbayog Street near corner Malinao St. in Barangay Highway Hills   at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Barayuga, whose last assignment was at the Philippine National Police Directorate for Research and Development, suffered gunshot wounds in the head and body and died on the spot. His driver was taken to a local hospital for treatment of bullet wounds.

Witnesses said the gunman who was wearing a blue shorts, a black jacket and a red helmet pumped bullets at the victims after they stopped at the scene. The assassin armed with a caliber .45 semi-automatic pistol fled on board a motorbike being ridden by an unidentified cohort. They were last seen fleeing towards the direction of D.M. Guevarra Street on their way to EDSA.

Investigators recovered at least four spent .45 casings at the scene of the attack.

Barayuga was brought to the PCSO by its chairman Anselmo Pinili, another PMA Class 1983 member and retired police general. He is just among the several PMA Class 1983 members who are now in the PCSO.

The task group is looking into a number of possible motives behind the killing of Barayuga, a former logistics chief of the Police Regional Office 6 in Western Visayas before he was transferred to Camp Crame. One of the possibilities is that the murder could be ‘work-related.’

Police are also reviewing CCTV footages at the scene which could lead them to the identification of the killers who apparently just waited for the official to leave the PCSO office before attacking him.

Investigators said it was obvious that the assassins have been tailing the PCSO official prior to the actual hit job since they knew the vehicle he was riding and the time he usually leaves his office.

Barayuga was the 2nd government official killed this week. Last Monday, National Center for Mental Health chief Roland Cortez,61; and his driver Ernesto dela Cruz,46, were gunned down inside the doctor’s car by still unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

Witnesses said the killers escaped towards Commonwealth Avenue after shooting the victims around 7 a.m. last Monday. Cortez was in the news after he reportedly issued a gag order on another NCMH official, Clarita Avila after the latter said their facility was having a COVID outbreak amid its lack of personnel and equipment.

National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Debold M. Sinas has ordered the Eastern Police District and the Q.C. Police District to leave no stones unturned in the investigation into the two cases.

Sinas said he wants ‘justice to be served’ on the victims and their families immediately.