Guihulngan City councilor shot dead in daytime ambush


DUMAGUETE CITY — An incumbent councilor of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental was shot dead early Monday in an ambush staged by two unidentified assailants along the national highway in that northern city.

Police identified the victim as Councilor Paulo Edison Dela Rita Sr.

He succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds after two motorcycle-riding suspects waylaid and shot him around 7:35 a.m. Monday in Poblacion, Guihulngan City, said Senior Supt. Edwin Portento, Negros Oriental provincial police director.

The suspects were wearing helmets and jackets when they ambushed the councilor, who was also riding a motorcycle and was traveling southbound on the national highway.

The victim died on his way to the Guihulngan hospital.

Portento said Guihulngan police personnel are still investigating the motive behind Dela Rita’s killing.

Dela Rita figured in a “controversial” ambush by New People’s Army (NPA) last year that claimed the lives of six cops, including the police chief, and the wounding of three others.

Portento said the police have yet to determine the motive of the killing and the identity of the suspects. He declined to comment on whether Dela Rita’s death has something to do with the ambush-slay of the Guihulngan police personnel last year.

Dela Rita was accused of being in cahoots with the communist NPA rebels and was supposedly a “decoy” that led to the deaths of the Guihulngan City police chief, Supt. Arnel Arpon, SPO2 Mecasio Tabilon, SPO2 Teovic Agosto, SPO1 Jesael Ancheta, PO2 Alvin Paul Bulandres, and PO2 Alfredo Dunque last July 21, 2017.

Also injured in that ambush in Barangay Magsaysay, Guihulngan City were SPO4 Jerome Delara, PO3 Jordan Balderas, and PO2 Jorie Maribao.

In that incident, the policemen had responded to the call for assistance from Dela Rita, who said he was ambushed by the NPA rebels. Dela Rita’s aide was killed while another companion was wounded in the said incident.

Portento said police investigators are looking at other possible motives, including politics. Mary Judaline Partlow/