Police yet to determine the motive of the killing

TACLOBAN CITY – A lay minister who also served as the municipal agriculturist officer of Leyte town, Leyte province, was shot to death by a lone assailant hours after he served in a mass on Sunday (June 9).

The police have yet to determine the identity of the suspect and the motive behind the killing of Marcelino Combate, 52.

An initial report from the Leyte provincial police office disclosed that the victim was driving his motorcycle when he was waylaid by the lone suspect at Sitio Purok Crossing, Barangay Cabungahan, Villaba town, at about 12:10 pm.

The suspect, using a .45 caliber pistol, shot Combate several times, hitting different parts of his body and resulting in his instant death, the police said.

Eight empty bullet casings were recovered on the crime scene by the members of the scene of the crime operatives.

The suspect immediately fled on foot towards a forested area near the crime scene, taking with him the victim’s sling bag containing his wallet, cellphone, and sacramental bread.

According to the report, prior to the incident, Combate held a mass in the villages of Baga-bao and Mataloto, both in Leyte town.

He was heading towards Leyte, Leyte using the by-pass road located in Brgy. Cabungahan, Villaba when the incident took place.

The local police in Villaba, led by police chief Major Edwin Tolibas, are still conducting their investigation into Combate’s killing.

Leyte police director, Colonel Dionisio Apas Jr., has dispatched a criminal investigation team to assist the Villaba police in this case.

“As the officer-in-charge of the Leyte Police Provincial Office, I am appealing to the public for any information that may aid in the apprehension of the suspect,” he said in a statement.

“Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact the Villaba Municipal Police Station or submit tips anonymously through the hotline numbers of our municipal police stations,” he added.

The Inquirer reached for comment Leyte Mayor James Arnold Ysidoro for his reaction on the death of the victim but has yet to respond as of this press time.