Cops pick up witness to slay of Sorsogon Board member

SORSOGON CITY – An unidentified man was picked up by the police in a subdivision here minutes after the killing of Sorsogon first district Board Member Pedro Ravanilla on Tuesday morning as he could be a possible witness in the slay, police said.

The victim, a first-term Board Member and a former member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, died on the spot after a lone gunman shot him in the head along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Pangpang this city at 8:50 a.m.

Ravanilla, 54, was 50 meters away from his residence and had come from a morning walk in the city proper when gunned down. His killing stunned relatives and local community members who said he had no known enemies.

Supt. Dionesio Laceda, Sorsogon City police chief, in an interview, said the possible witness, whom he declined to identify, was wearing a bull cap, sleeveless shirt and short pants.

He said the unidentified man was personally fetched by police at San Rafael Subdivision, a few hundred meters from the crime scene, and was loaded onto a police mobile.

Laceda himself rode with the unidentified person in the vehicle.

In an exclusive interview with PNA, Laceda said the person was not a suspect but a possible witness to the incident.

The police chief was alerted about the “person” by his men over the police radio as he was inspecting the crime scene.

He, however, said the man failed to provide substantial information on the suspect as the gunman was wearing a bull cap.

Laceda said there was no closed circuit TV camera along the route taken by the victim from the city center up to the crime scene that could record any activity and provide information on the killers.

Pangpang Barangay Captain Peter Jolloso, the victim’s brother-in-law, said he was clueless on the killing, saying that Ravanilla had not been staying in his residence but transferred already to Metro Manila.

The Board Member was estranged from his wife.

Senior Supt. Ronaldo Cabral, director of Sorsogon Provincial Police Office, in a phone interview, said that he has organized a dedicated investigating team or DIT that would focus on the slay case.

“We have raw information which have to be thoroughly probed,” he added, even as he cleared the victim of involvement in illegal drugs.

Cabral said he himself was stunned by the killing, the report of which reached him while he was on a regional command conference in Camarines Sur.

He said that he had excused himself from the meeting and would rush back to this city to personally look into the matter.

Meanwhile, Board Member Eric Ravanilla, a nephew of the victim, strongly condemned the killing, as he urged the Philippine National Police to ensure that the perpetrators and mastermind are caught.

He said they were all shocked by the incident which had not happened to an incumbent official in recent history of the province.

As this developed, Gov. Robert Lee Rodrigueza has put up a PHp100,000 reward for any information that could lead to the identity or arrest of the suspects.

Lee said he had instructed Cabral to leave no stone unturned in the probe on Ravanilla’s killing.

The governor condemned the slaying which he described as dastardly and shocking, saying that he could not think of any possible motive that would provoke anyone to murder the victim.

“From what we know, Board Member Ravanilla was a jolly and friendly person,” he said.

Ravanilla, who ran under the UNA (United Nationalist Alliance) during the May 2016 elections, was a contractor and involved in property leasing at the time of his murder.

He was a three-term Sorsogon City councilor before running for Board member.

Ravanilla was supervising the repair of one of his properties just meters away from his residence when gunned down by a suspect who fled towards the diversion road on board a motorcycle driven by his cohort.

The victim is also a cousin of the husband of Department of Tourism-Bicol Director Maria O. Ravanilla. Bobby Labalan/