LINGAYEN, Pangasainan — The investigation into the slaying of the barangay chairman of Banzal, Sta. Barbara and three of his close relatives at about 8:35 p.m. on Nov. 29 in Barangay Malanay, Sta. Barbara is now being handled by a Special Investigation Task Group SITG) formed by Acting Police Provincial Director Ronald Oliver Lee.
This was bared by Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police provincial director for operations, who said SITG Ballesteros is headed by the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO).
He told newsmen members of the newly formed SITG composed of different police units already met Wednesday and listed down the possible motives of the suspects in slaying the barangay chairman and his kin.
Killed by suspected motorcycle riding criminals were Cecilio Ballesteros Jr., 56; his son Brian Ballesteros, 34; brother-in-law Manuel Lalas Aquino, 36; and his brother Dionisio Ballesteros, 54, all of Barangay Banzal, Sta. Barbara.
All four were on board a motorized tricycle heading home towards Barangay Bangzal from Barangay Tuliao, Calasiao when armed men on board a motorcycle opened fire on them, killing all of them instantly.
Supt. Candelario said that SITG will consider all angles as possible motives of the murder of the four men but initially ruled out this could be due to illegal drugs because of the late barangay chairman’s active involvement in the campaign against illegal drugs.
He said based on the records of the police in Sta. Barbara, the late Barangay Chairman Ballesteros was instrumental in persuading many of his constituents involved in illegal drugs to surrender under Project Double: Barrel.
But he admitted it is too early to speculate on the motive of this incident as SITG Ballesteros has yet started working on the case.
Candelario said the SITG is now looking into the personal profile of the barangay chairman to find out those who may have personal grudges against him on and on other cases he might have been involved.
Asked on the angle that the slain barangay chairman was involved in cattle rustling activities, Candelario said the SITG will also take a close look at it.
“We are looking on many angles and his possible involvement in illegal drugs is not one of them,” he intoned. Leonardo Micua/PNA-northboundasia.com