Spate of killings in the 3rd district

ALARM. Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho ‘Icot’ Petilla has expressed his alarm on the series of shooting incidents in the province’s third district, mostly involving barangay officials. Photo shows Petilla with security officials led by Col. Erwin Portillo, Leyte police director, and Gen. Noel Vestuir, the commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade. (CARLOS JERICHO ICOT PETILLA FACEBOOK)

TACLOBAN CITY – Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla expressed concern over the series of shooting incidents in the third district of the province, suggesting that the suspects might not be local residents.

In response to inquiries about measures taken by the province to address the killings, particularly targeting elected village officials, Gov.Petilla emphasized the challenge of identifying the perpetrators. He noted that the suspects’ faces are often uncovered, making it difficult to ascertain their origins.

“The suspects are unidentifiable, their identities remain unknown. It’s possible they are not from our province. With the prevalence of aliases like ‘Marites’ nowadays, authorities may find it easier to gather information on their whereabouts,” he said.

Gov. Petilla disclosed that he has instructed the provincial police to bolster their presence in the district to counteract the surge in shooting incidents, which have claimed the lives of numerous village officials.

He cited a similar strategy employed during the previous Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, where increased police deployment helped mitigate violence.
During the recent barangay election period, increased police presence in the third district resulted in a notable reduction in violence, Gov. Petilla noted.

“We’re adopting a similar approach, but we cannot sustain it indefinitely. We may encounter challenges elsewhere, so we’re working with the PNP to manage resources efficiently, including deploying more personnel and enhancing logistical support,” he added.

To address the alarming trend of killings, the governor disclosed that the province has allocated funds from its confidential budget to offer rewards for individuals who provide information leading to the arrest of the suspects.

A reward of P500,000 has been announced by the Leyte Police Provincial Office, with assurances of confidentiality for informants.

Additionally, Gov. Petilla stated that he has engaged with political leaders in the district, inquiring about any potential involvement in the crimes. However, they denied any connection to the incidents, affirming their innocence.