Blanco laid to rest

Around four thou­sand peo­ple join the griev­ing fam­ily of the late Ronda town mayor Mar­i­ano Blanco III in his fu­neral rites yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

The Freeman - - NEWS - — Mae Cly­dyl L. Avila/FPL

Fam­ily mem­bers and friends wore shirts em­bla­zoned with words, “Ronda love Mayor Nonie” and “Jus­tice on its own is not enough.” Mem­bers of the Blanco fam­ily remain silent and re­fused to grant in­ter­views to the me­dia.

Blanco was killed in­side his of­fice on Septem­ber 5 by four un­known gun­men. The mayor has been hold­ing up in his of­fice for fear of his life af­ter he was named narco-politi­cian by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte in 2016.

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Task Group headed by Cebu Provin­cial Police Of­fice di­rec­tor Se­nior Supt. Manuel Abru­gena is eye­ing three pos­si­ble mo­tives in Blanco’s killing. In an ear­lier in­ter­view, Abru­gena said politics, il­le­gal drugs, and per­sonal grudge are the an­gles that in­ves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into.

Mayor Rocky Ga­batan, who suc­ceeded Blanco, said he is hope­ful that jus­tice will be served to the fam­ily at the soon­est time pos­si­ble. Ga­batan promised to sup­port the fam­ily if they plan to seek other law en­force­ment agency’s help in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Police Su­per­in­ten­dent Janette Rafter, spokesper­son for the SITG Blanco, said that they will be co­or­di­nat­ing with the mem­bers of the fam­ily soon now that the late mayor has been buried. Rafter ad­mit­ted they are hav­ing a hard time fol­low­ing up leads to iden­tify the cul­prits.

“Karon naglisud gyud mi sa pag-sin­gle out bisan usa man lang sa mga pos­si­ble mo­tives nga ini­tially ni prop up, that’s why state­ment from the fam­ily would re­ally help the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” she said.

The town of Ronda has al­ready a new police chief af­ter Se­nior In­spec­tor Jay Pal­con and 10 of his men were re­lieved a day af­ter the killing of the mayor be­cause of their fail­ure to im­me­di­ately re­spond de­spite the prox­im­ity of the mayor’s of­fice to the police sta­tion.

Police In­spec­tor Re­nato Al­buera, new police chief, said he has beefed up the se­cu­rity around the mu­nic­i­pal hall since he as­sumed of­fice.

JOY TORREJOS

Msgr. Den­nis Vil­larojo pre­sides over the Mass dur­ing the open­ing of the 26th Cebu Press Freedom Week at the Capi­tol So­cial Hall yes­ter­day.

BLANCO

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