Bodyguard of vice mayoralty bet killed in Mindoro

GUNMEN shot to death a 38-year-old bodyguard of a vice-mayoralty candidate in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro past 10 a.m. Saturday before stealing his firearm and handbag containing around P320,000 in cash, a Police Regional Office 4B report said yesterday.

The victim identified as Benjamin Algeria, a personal bodyguard of vice mayoral candidate Mario Nuarin, was on board a Toyota Fortuner  when the SUV’s path was blocked by the suspects along Barangay Villa Cerveza around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, said PRO4-B director Brigadier General Thomas C. Apolinario Jr.

At gunpoint, at least six suspects ordered Algeria and his three companions identified as Rufino Valenzuela, Allan Mesana and one “Edwin” to alight from the SUV before they started shooting the victim.

Algeria suffered two gunshot wounds in the body and died on the spot. The killers then ordered the victim’s companions to remove their clothes and pants before instructing them to leave the scene.

The suspects fled on board a white Foton van and a dark colored Titanium model Ford Everest towards Bgy. Alcate.

Apolinario said members of the Victoria Municipal Police Station and the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Mobile Group have launched a massive hunt for the suspects.

The local police headed by Colonel Thomas Frias Jr. has created the Special Investigation Task Group Alegria to lead the probe into the killing.

The official said  four spent 9mm casings were recovered at the crime scene.

Apolinario said  the killing marred what has been a generally peaceful situation in Mimaropa region for today’s mid-term elections.

The official has also ordered an intensified campaign against vote-buying and vote-selling as well strict enforcement of the gun ban.

Last Thursday, Apolinario said his men arrested Christopher Peredo, a 50-year old driver while in possession of a loaded .45 pistol.

Another gun ban offender identified as Confessor Sualog,52, a farmer from Purok 1, Bgy. Malawaan in Rizal, Occidental Mindoro was also arrested while toying with a grenade. A fragmentation grenade was recovered from the suspect.

Apolinario said  around 9 p.m. Saturday, his men also arrested Noyme Moreno,38;  Jose Paulo Porras,32; Restituto Constantino,62; Michael Malacas,31; and Dennis Nepomuceno,32, in Bgy. Balite, Gloria, Oriental Mindoro for gun ban violation.

The suspects were on board a white van and reportedly engaged in vote-buying and harassment of voters in the area when local police and military troops accosted them upon a complaint from Vice Mayor Ramos Solas.

Seized from the suspects’ possession were two cal. .45 pistols, two .45 magazines and two 9mm magazines, 49 live ammunition and a Cignus handheld a radio.